Pingyao 2014: Zhang Guotian
Festival Director

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

Zhang Guotian

On Friday 19th September, the 14th edition of the Pingyao International Photography Festival opens in this UNESCO world heritage city in China’s Shanxi Province with 400 exhibitions featuring more than 2100 photographers and thousands of images. Exhibitions are held throughout the ancient walled city, indoors and outdoors, bringing photography to an audience in excess of 100,000 and transforming unlikely spaces such as disused factories, into galleries.

Pingyao 2014
Head On Portrait Prize

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

Joe Wigdahl, Family loss – Kirrilee Edwards. WINNER 2014 Head On Portrait Prize. A portrait of Kirrilee Edwards before her death. Kirrilee suffered a catastrophic brain injury at 12, which required 24 hour care for several years. The image shows her being touched by her incredible parents and 6 brothers and sisters who have all taken part in caring for her.

Waving the Australian flag is the 2014 Head On Portrait Prize exhibition featuring the 40 works that comprise the winners and finalists in the tenth edition of this coveted prize, which is a central feature of the annual Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. This is the first time the Head On Portrait exhibition has been held in China. 

Pingyao 2014:
The Wizards of Oz

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

© Vikk Shayen

Also representing Australia is the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) which is billed as the most important event of its kind in Australia. Held every second year in August, in the historical gold mining town of Ballarat in country Victoria, this festival’s charter is to present new work from both established and emerging artists. In the “Wizards of Oz”, BIFB Festival Director Jeff Moorfoot has curated a collection of works by ten Australian artists who have participated in the Core Program at the past three editions BIFB.

Pingyao 2014
Alexia Foundation

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

“Iranian People – Ordinary or Criminals?” Sheida, 18, is smoking a cigarette in a cafe. She says "I feel safe in the cafe". Smoking a cigarette is not restricted legally in Iran, however, girls are afraid of smoking in public places. The radical Muslims and traditional people consider this as a abominable act for girls and they might annoy them. Ahvaz (Southern Iran), July 1st 2013. ©Mehran Hamrahi

For the seventh consecutive year the Alexia Foundation will present an exhibition of the winners of its 2014 Professional and Student Grants - Sebastian Liste “The New Culture of Violence in Latin America” and Mehran Hamrahi “Iranian People – Ordinary or Criminals?”. 2014 marks the tenth year the Foundation's Executive Administrator Jim Dooley has been to Pingyao. He says, "every year the Pingyao International Photography Festival is different...there are new exhibitions, new and different lectures, new and exciting visual projects.

Pingyao 2014: Contemporary
German Photography

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

Freischwimme © Jutta Schmidt

Curated by Thomas Kellner, a leading German artist in conceptual and experimental photography, this exhibition explores numerous themes and styles showing the diversity of thought and approach in contemporary photography in Germany. In his body of work, International Orange, Daniel Schumann uses colour portraiture of couples and families to present the diversity of those living in the LGBT community in San Francisco. 

Pingyao 2014
To Save a Forest

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

© Craig Potton

In this exhibition curator John B. Turner has combined the works of these three very different artists, whose approaches to capturing the fragility and beauty of New Zealand’s forests are highly engaging. “Martin Hill, a designer and environmental sculptor makes impeccable photographic records of his temporal art works; Ian Macdonald has photographed some of the world's most important wilderness areas for the BBC; and Craig Potton uses photography as his main weapon as a green advocate and publisher dedicated to preserve wilderness areas,” says Turner providing a brief précis on each. 

Pingyao 2014: Contemporary
Baltic and Nordic photography

China, written by Alison Stieven-Taylor

Tokyo, 1999, From the series Office © Tunbjork Stockbroker

Viewfinders features 15 artists from eight countries whose work says curator Inga Brūvere, “Represents a number of current trends in Nordic and Baltic photography and represents various generations. Viewfinders focuses on self-discovery, people’s private spaces and questions they ask themselves.