Changing China: photo show focuses on impact of Wenzhou’s economic success story

ThomasBird-Wenzhou2For three days, attendees of the Lishui Photography Festival have been shepherded from gallery to workshop to seminar. The itinerary has been packed with talks, banquets and trips to the surrounding countryside.

In my free time, I have lost myself in the old winding streets of this small city in the south of Zhejiang province, ambling between galleries, museums and public installations, seeking out beacons of artistic excellence in a sea of mediocrity.

Like many grand gatherings of this calibre in China, the event has been choreographed into an assembly line of meet-ups. Festivities started with a variety show-style opening gala and will conclude with an award ceremony, replete with a spiffy host accompanied by dolled-up female assistants.

The days in between are bursting with activity as photography connoisseurs queue alongside curious locals and students to digest the more than 5,000 works on show.

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