Lianzhou Foto Festival

November 30, 2015 at 12:18 pm

I have just returned from exhibiting ‘Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden’ in china. The project was curated by François Cheval from Museé Nicéphore Niépce in France after seeing the work at Rencontres d’Arles in the Discovery Award earlier this year.


The festival at Lianzhou was started in 2005 by Lin Wenzhao, then mayor of the city of Lianzhou, held a meeting with several professionals in the field of photography where they decided that a new international photo festival was to be launched in Lianzhou, with the hope that this would become an important cultural symbol of the city.


A few months later, Ms. Liu Heng, a PhD graduate of architecture from Harvard University, was invited to take charge of the planning and redesign of the festival grounds including the Shoe Factory and the Candy Factory. The direction of the architectural design was that the existing vintage structures of the buildings would be preserved.


On November 20th of the same year, the first Lianzhou Foto was successfully commenced with the theme “Dual Visions: Lianzhou Beginnings”. The theme was conceived by Mr. Yang Xiaoyan, the academic chair of the festival, to express the idea that with the city of Lianzhou as the starting point, visitors of the festival would be able to appreciate the historical and current developments of the art of photography as new possibilities of photographic expressions are also discovered. The artistic director,Duan Yuting, and French curator Alain Jullien were among the group of curators who selected and arranged the exhibitions. The Ministry of Culture of France also helped to put together four exhibitions of master photographers including Paul Fusco. Renowned Chinese artists such as Hong Lei, Jiang Zhi, Zheng Guogu, Xu Tan, Wang Gongxin,Zhuang Hui and Cui Youwen were among the participants of the festival. Famed ethnographic photographer Zhuang Xueben was one of the featured presentations at the festival.


The festival also featured a diverse line-up of activities including an academic forum, projection nights, portfolio review sessions, award presentations and media receptions. These activities were well attended by artists and professionals both within and outside the country.


This marked the beginning of the evolution of Lianzhou Foto with the ambition of becoming the most influential and professional photo festival in China.