Chinese photographers grab global spotlight

Moment in time: Liao’s photo ‘Cauldron Noodles’ earned him the top spot in the Food Photographer of the Year 2019 contest. — China Daily/ANN

Beijing: In 1988, Yang Shaoming was the first Chinese photographer to clinch a World Press Photo award, from a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands.

Yang’s achievement has since paved the way for Chinese photographers to feature prominently in prestigious international competitions.

Bao Yongqing is the latest in the line-up, having been named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 last month by London’s Natural History Museum, which organised the major competition.

Hise winning photo, The Moment, captures a stand-off between a Tibetan fox and a marmot in China’s Qilian Mountains.

“To win the award was not my purpose, but of course I am more than happy to get it, ” Bao said.

“My main purpose is to get people to know more about wild animals, love them and protect them.”

In May, Liao Jianhui drew global attention when he was named the 2019 Food Photographer of the Year.

The award, established by Caroline Kenyon, director of The Food Awards Co in the United Kingdom, supports Action Against Hunger, a humanitarian aid group that focuses on saving the lives of malnourished children in poor countries.

Liao’s photograph, titled Cauldron Noodles, shows a celebration of the mythological goddess Nuwa in Shexian county, Hebei province, with revellers wearing Qing Dynasty costumes and eating noodles.

Marine Cabos-Brulle, an art historian and founder of the Photography of China platform, said the rise in the number of Chinese photographers on the global stage had been noticeable, especially due to the growing number of “specialised fairs, photography festivals and institutions which have endeavoured to offer an international platform for Chinese contemporary photography”.Shanghai alone is a hub of visual art and photography. The city holds the annual Photofairs Shanghai, regarded as a leading destination in the Asia-Pacific for discovering and collecting photography.

Photo enthusiasts also flock to the Pingyao International Photography Festival in Shanxi province, which features hundreds of exhibits and works from around the world.

Cabos-Brulle said the Lianzhou Museum of Photography, which opened in 2017, is the first public museum of its kind dedicated to contemporary photography in China.

Kenyon believes there is now an ecosystem for Chinese photography, which is now deemed an art form.

“The potential is vast. What I’ve seen in the Chinese entries is the talent in capturing a moment with perfect timing, ” Kenyon said.

Chris Coe, who is behind the Travel Photography of the Year accolade, said the rise in the number of Chinese photography entrants could be due to the fact that more people from China are now travelling.“They are photographing places we’ve never seen before, so that gives an interesting aspect and a freshness in terms of subject matter, ” he said. — China Daily/ANN

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