What do you do when you get a invitation to show photos at a Photo Exhibition in the middle of China? Well… of course you start packing. There is a long journey from the north of Iceland where we live but this is something not to be missed even though it means traveling to the other side of the planet.
Arriving in Sanmenxia, Henan, in the middle of China it was hard to miss the big billboards and ads for the exhibition that could be seen all over the city. This was a huge event by any standard.
In China they really know how to open a photo exhibition with a loud bang. The opening ceremony was outstanding and thousands of people attended the exhibition which lasted few days.
It was a great honour for both me and Gyda to be invited. The exhibition is huge to say the least. This was the 12th Chinese Photography Art Festival held in collaboration with the China Photographers Association and this was the second year a handful of selected international photographers were invited to participate in the Sanmenxia White Swan Wildlife International Exhibition.
Studio of Masters are collaborating with the project. When we arrived it was Jeremy Chan and Johnny Ho that guided us to the exhibition.
Studio of Masters (SOM) – is a international photography guild. They are a comprehensive international service platform instilling self-value for photographers through “promoting the development and inheritance of photography and image art culture”.
The invited foreign photographers were not many and it was great to meet those talented photographers and we definitely made new friends.
The international exhibition was dedicated to wildlife. We sent samples of Icelandic wildlife, focused on the arctic fox, the birdlife and the few mammals we have in Iceland.
It took few hours to see the whole exhibition of both the Chinese Photographers Association and the Wildlife International Photography Exhibition. The fact is that it was mindblowing to meet all the photographers coming from different corners of the world and hear the stories behind the pictures.
Most of the photographers we met had already been to Iceland. Since this was a wildlife exhibition it was nice to see Iceland in a pool with photographers from Africa, the Philippines, Norway, Hawaii, China, Germany, Finland and the United States to name a few. It was intriguing to see the different subjects of the photographers. Big and small creatures on land and in the sea.
A comprehensive almost 500 page book was published with selected photos from the Wildlife International Photography Exhibition. A testament to the ambition behind the photography art festival.
Outside of the exhibition we had a great Hotel and great time with our new friends.
Who goes all the way to China without getting a glimpse of the culture – and the food? Our two good friends Jeremy and Sando stopped at nothing to show us the Chineese food culture. We really loved it.
We got on a tour to see the famous historic Hangu Pass Scenic Area. Of course the Icelanders got a bit lost and we heard our guides had been a searching for the “tall guy and the small woman” who did wander off from the group in search of landscape motives.
On the way back to the airport in Zheng Zhou we got to visit the Henan Museum. There we got a chance to see the the oldest known musical instrument from China among other things, dating back to around 6000 BC.
In short China was a pleasant surprise! Amazing to be more accurate and we look forward going back. I think we all have our ideas and even prejudices about countries and what to expect. The country and the culture was great but heading back to Iceland what stands out is all the new friends and connections we made.