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2.15.2012

[ YANGGE PARTY PRINTS ] Píngyáo International Photography Festival

More raving about that little (in Chinese terms) town west of Beijing? Yes, more raving. Sorry but it really was quite the town. Last post, I promise. This time I want to share with you some of my favorite ethnic inspired shots from the 2011 Píngyáo international Photography Festival, which just happened to be taking place during my visit.  

Held at various locations around the town with prints strung up everywhere from disused factories to 300 year old temple walls and parking lot gates, this festival definitely took the town by storm, swamping the streets with super keen amateur photographers brandishing an unwarranted amount of camera equipment. Let's just say unofficial sponsors Canon and Nikon certainly peaked in inadvertent exposure ratings.

Photographs by Kang Fuqi
Naturally on the look out for traditional culture inspired shots, I came across two photographers who had both captured traditional villages in full swing Yangge mode. Taking place annually in lunar January each year around northern China's Shaanxi province, Yangge Party celebrates the joy of life and happiness stemming from the past years good harvest with drum and gong bearing dancers, often on stilts, paying visits to all dwellings in the area. So whilst we're welcoming in the new year with a hangover, these guys are prancing around on stilts in the most amazing, intricately embroidered costumes, faces plastered with traditional make up and crowned with fabulously decorative headpieces. I think I might try China next New Year. 

Photographs by Kang Fuqi

Traditional culture aside, the PIP festival has a plethora of awesome work from every level of photographer, mostly Chinese (naturally) with a few foreigners slotted in here and there. A great atmosphere and an even better location, its definitely worth a visit if you just happen to be hanging around Shaanxi province but if you're a westerner watch out for those telephoto lenses! True to form, being one of the only non-Asians around, I was unrelentingly swarmed by super lenses and tiny children wielding note books and pleading for autographs. I think my 'type' may be somewhat of a rarity in small town China... 

The Píngyáo international Photography Festival 2012: my no.1 recommendation for any non-Asian that wants to feel like a famous person for the day. 

To read more about the UNESCO heritage town of Píngyáo check out my earlier post here and and another on paper cutting in Píngyáo here



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