Massive international photo fest comes to China's 'Turtle City'

Massive international photo fest comes to China's 'Turtle City'

The 12th annual Pingyao International Photography Festival will attract 1,700 photographers from around the world
pingyao photo festival -- main
Pingyao takes photography to the people: factories, temples and streets are the festival's galleries.

Pingyao (平遥), an ancient walled city in central China nicknamed “Turtle City,” will turn into a colossal art gallery later this month for the 12th Pingyao International Photography Festival.

Some 13,000 photos from 1,700 international photographers will be displayed throughout the 1,260-square-kilometer county in eight exhibition areas, including a defunct textile mill and a former government office.

pingyao photo festival -- inline 1Pingyao might just be China's largest art gallery in September.

As one of China's premier photo fests, this year's event is themed “Regression and Surpassing” (回归·超越) and will run from September 19-25.

"Regression means returning to the essence of photography," said the festival’s art director, Zhang Guotian (张国田). "Surpassing is to go beyond traditional limits and to look for a way of adapting to the digital era."

Zhang said the week-long festival will include 332 exhibitions across Pingyao, showcasing a variety of photography genres under different topics.

Artworks will be also be hung in the streets and in four temples, such as the City God’s Temple and Confucius Temple.

"All these temples are relics with more than 100 years’ history," added Zhang. "It'll be more like a big photography temple fair."

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pingyao photo festival -- inline 2Music fans should head to the "Rockarchive" photo exhibition.


Exhibition “Josef Koudelka” is a highlight of this year’s Pingyao International Photography Festival.

Josef Koudelka, a Czech photographer from photo agency Magnum, will host a retrospective exhibition, in partnership with the Aperture Foundation.

The exhibition, to be held in an abandoned diesel engine factory, will showcase 75 photos by the 74-year-old photographer, which focus on news and social phenomenon.

Koudelka and Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of Aperture Magazine, will attend the exhibition’s opening ceremony on September 19.

Other highlights of the fest include "Rockarchive -- 50 Years of British Rock," curated by David Elliot from the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy; a tribute exhibition to Chinese photo-journalism pioneer Gu Di (顾棣); and "She Ying Guo" (摄影国), a group exhibition by Chinese photographers.

'Turtle City'

The name Pingyao literally means "peace and far."

The UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back approximately 2,600 years and is best known for its city wall, which was erected in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty.

Some 6,400 meters long, 12 meters high and four meters wide, Pingyao’s wall has six gates facing in six directions, which makes the outline resemble that of a turtle's. This earns Pingyao the nickname "Turtle City."

More on CNN: More than Terracotta Warriors: 7 Best things to do in Xi'an

The 12th Pingyao International Photography Festival, September 19-25, Pingyao, Jinzhong city, Shanxi Province, admission fee: RMB 100 (US$15),

To get to Pingyao, fly to Taiyuan, the provincial capital of Shanxi, from any major Chinese city, then take a train from the Taiyuan Train Station. Train to Pingyao leaves every 90 minutes. Journey takes about two hours and costs RMB 15.

Raemin Zhang is CNNGo's China-based staff writer. 

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