George Eastman House photographs to be exhibited in Beijing

Bruce Barnes, curator of George Eastman House Photos: Billie Feng

The Beijing Fuhai Cultural Park (北京福海文化园) announced at a press conference on February 26 that a photography exhibition themed "the Power of the Image" will be held in Beijing on April 25. The organizer is still trying to find the most appropriate venue in the city to display the photographs with aim that the exhibits can make a powerful impact on the public. Beijing Fuhai Culture Development Co. Ltd will sponsor the exhibition.

All the photographs will come from the collection of George Eastman House, a well-known museum of photography and film in the US. George Eastman was the founder of the Kodak company, which revolutionized photography at the end of the 19th century.

Works of 20 top photographers from around the world have been selected for the exhibition. The photographers include Art Streiber (US), Art Wolfe (US), Eddie Soloway (US), Eric Meola (US), Frédéric Lagrange (France), Gerd Ludwig (Germany), Jocelyn Bain Hogg (UK), John Sexton (US), Joyce Tenneson (US), Lauren Greenfield (US), Matthew Jordan Smith (US), Michael Crouser (US), Nadav Kander (Israel), Pep Bonet (Spain), Qin Yuhai (China), Peter Guttman (US), Roman Loranc (Poland), Steve McCurry (US), Sylvia Plachy (Hungary) and Yann Layma (France).

When asked about what are the criteria for selecting the photographers, Barnes said, “One of the most important criteria was that we looked for photographers who seek to make the world a better place by their photography. We looked for photographers who are interested in how to promote world peace, how to preserve the environment and how to make other people’s lives better.” Barnes added that the ability to make beautiful photographs is also another important criterion in the selection process because photography is an art after all.

Cao Jian, chairman of Beijing Fuhai Culture Development Co. Ltd

Cao Jian (曹俭), chairman of Beijing Fuhai Culture Development Co. Ltd, agreed with Barnes, "It’s important to see what impact a photograph can make on the society,” he said. Barnes and Cao specially made positive comments about Qin Yuhai, who is the only Chinese photographer selected for this exhibition. “His name may not be well-known, but we feel something powerful in his landscape photos,” Cao said.

According to the curator Bruce Barnes, it is the very first time that George Eastman House has ever displayed their collected photographs in China. “We’ve collaborated with museums in various countries. It’s long overdue for us to collaborate with an institution in China. We should’ve done it earlier. Now we think this is a great opportunity to do it in a powerful way. We look forward to having an on-going relationship with Mr. Cao to do more projects,” Barnes said.

Barnes also hopes to work with Chinese institutions to exhibit Chinese photographers’ works in the US in the future. “I visited some galleries both in Beijing and New York and looked at works by famous and less famous Chinese photographers. I think some of the great photography in the world right now is done by Chinese photographers.” Barnes also mentioned he and Cao are considering exhibiting some Chinese photographers’ works in George Eastman House this year and then sending them to several other locations in the US to make more people aware of what Chinese photographers are doing. He also expressed his hope that some of the Chinese works can become part of the collection of his museum.

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