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        Location: Three Shadows Photography Art Centre
        Duration: April 21 - June 15, 2012

        Artists: Fan Shisan, Fung, Tsz Chung, Gao Jun, Geng Yi, Hu Xiao, Huang Zhenwei, Jia Xincheng, Lei Benben, Luo Bin, Wang Lin, Wang Qing, Xie Jiankun, Yan Yibo, Yang Xueguang, Yang Yuanyuan, Yao Yiwen, Yi Hui, Zhang Jin, Zhang Kechun, Zhao Yiyi, Zhou Shuoying, Zhu Feng, and Zhu Mo.

        Jurors: Michiko Kasahara, Chief Curator, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Lecturer, Meiji Gakuin University
        Christopher Phillips, Curator, International Center of Photography, New York
        François Hébel, Director, Les Rencontres d'Arles International Photography Festival
        RongRong, Chinese Photographer; Founder & Director, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre
        Juan I-Jong, Taiwanese Photographer, Hilla Becher, Renowned German Photographer & Educator

        Between June and December 2011, 358 candidates submitted a total of nearly ten thousand works for consideration in the fourth Three Shadows Photography Award (TSPA). The selection committee made their choices based on each candidate’s strength of conceptual expression, grasp of the medium’s particular language, self-expression, subject matter and choice in materials among a number of other criteria. Through this process the committee strived to uncover the most promising photographers, promote photography’s diversity, emphasize the discovery of a new generation of photographers and their values. With these goals in mind, the committee carried out repeated study and consideration of each submission and, through discussion and debate, chose 23 finalists from the pool of 358 candidates to participate in this year’s Three Shadows Photography Award exhibition and the chance to be selected for the 2012 Three Shadows Photography Award.
        The third Caochangdi PhotoSpring festival will begin on April 21, 2012 and will also mark the opening of the 2012 TSPA exhibition. The winner of the 2012 TSPA will also be announced on the opening day and we invite you to please stay tuned.

        Fan Shisan
        Born in 1983 in Sichuan province, China, Fan Shisan,whose original name is Fan Lei, currently lives and works in Shanghai as a photographer.
        2011 2 of us Pingyao Photography Festival, Shanxi, China
        2010 Warm, KIC, Shanghai, China
                Tora, Tora, Tora, Caochangdi, Beijing, China
        2009 Personal Chat, Cetus Gallery, Shanghai, China
        2008 Xu Wei, Story, Us, Caochangdi, Beijing, China


        Fung Tsz Chung
        Born in 1982, lives and works in Hong Kong, China.


        Gao Jun


        Geng Yi
        Born in 1973, currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        Teacher, School of City Design, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Chinese National Geography Magazine Contributing Photographer
        2011 Solo Exhibition, ZEBAR Gallery, Vienna, Austria
               Geng Yi Solo Exhibition, Loh Gallery, Shanghai, China
        2010 Yuanmingyuan 2010, Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, China
        2009 First Contemporary Image Invitational Exhibition,Xinjiang province, China
        2008 Special Contribution Award for Photography, Chinese National Geography Magazine
        2007 Works included in the Poly Contemporary Art
                Silver Award for Art Photography, Asia Photo Awards,
                Hong Kong Institute of Professional Photographers, Hong Kong, China


        Hu Xiao
        Born in 1981, currently lives and works in Nanning, Guangxi province, China.


        Huang Zhenwei
        Born in 1986, currently lives and works in Xiamen, Fujian province, China.
        2011 In Line, Out of Line, Fujian Young Artist
               Community exhibition, Jimei, Xiamen, China
               Jimei International Art Photography Festival, Jimei, Xiamen, China
               Individual exhibition, Pingyao International Photography
               Festival, Pingyao, Shanxi, China
               Cheers 2011, UK China Art and Design Festival international traveling exhibition, London, UK; Beijing, Shanghai, China
               Mirror World, Photography Exchange Across the Channel exhibition, Jimei, Xiamen, China

        2010 Edinburgh College of Art Masters degree exhibition, Edinburgh, UK
               Stare, Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, UK
               eleven views, Art Complex Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
               Loupe, ECA Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

        2009 Cheers Reverse Current, London, UK
               Degree Show, London College of Communication, London, UK
        2009 XHIBIT, University of the Arts London, London, UK
        2008 Graduation exhibition, Chengdu Academy of Art, Chengdu, China


        Jia Xincheng
        Born in 1962, currently lives and works in Urumuqi, Xinjiang province.


        Lei Benben
        Born in 1977, currently lives and works in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China.
        2006 Began working with photography
        2007 Began the series One Day, One Photo


        Luo Bin
        Born in 1977, currently lives and works in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China.


        Wang Lin
        Born in 1973, currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        2010 In Heaven or On Earth, solo Exhibition organized by Caijing
        2008 Cheer up China and Blog United Community, Ping Yao International Photography Festival Group Show hosted by SouHu website.
                Conversation, 2008, Image China, Group Show in Inter Art Gallery


        Wang Qing
        1974 Born in Neijiang, Sichuan province, China.


        Xie Jiankun
        Born in 1976, currently lives and works in Chicago, USA.


        Yan Yibo
        Born in 1980, currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.
        Yan Yibo was born in 1980 and works as an independent photographer. He studied at the DHU-Lasalle International Design College at Donghua University and currently lives in Shanghai.
        2011 Top 20 Cutting-edge Chinese Photographers, Zhejiang Fine Art Gallery, Hangzhou, China
                human/happiness, Aroundspace Gallery, Shanghai, China
        2011 24H Beijing Caochangdi PhotoSpring Festival 2011, Beijing, China
        2010 Pingyao International Photography Festival 2010, China
        2010 landscape/insight, Aroundspace Gallery, Shanghai, China
        2009 Misinterpretation, OFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, China
        2009 Drama/Scene: Urban Photography in Shanghai, Liu Haisu Museum, Shanghai, China


        Yang Xueguang
        Born in 1960, currently lives and works in Shangri-la, Yunnan province, China.Yang Xueguang (Zha Xi Luo Dan) is a Tibetan member of the Chinese Photography Associate, the Yunnan Provincial Photography Association, and chair of the Shangri-la Photography Association.
        2011 Silent Gang River in Shuodu was featured in the third Dali International Photography Festival
        2010 Published an individual book Overlooking Three Rivers.
        2009 The series Napahaishidi Landscape won first place in the Protect Yunnan’s Ecology Photography Competition.
        Many works were exhibited at international photography festivals in Pingyao and Guilin. Works were also exhibited in Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, U.S. and others.


        Yang Yuanyuan
        Born in 1989, currently lives and works in Bejing
        Group Exhibitions
        2011 Restaurant, J Gallery, Shanghai, China
                Pingyao International Photography Exhibition, Shanxi, China
                Tovion, The Yard, Beijing, China
                24h, Caochangdi PhotoSpring – Arles in Beijing, Beijing, China
        2010 Image Banquet, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
                Building Block, Memory, Bed Bar, Beijing, China
                India Song, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK
                Some Summer, The Other Space Gallery, London, UK
                Rhizomatic, Departure Gallery, London, UK
                The mARkeT, Beijing Center for the Arts, Beijing, China
        2009 Peaceful Performance, GOLDEN Café, Hong Kong, China


        Yao Yiwen
        Born in 1979, currently lives and works in Australia.
        2011 Uluru No1, Northern Territory, photograph, from the series Chinese Shrines Under the Animal Crossing Sign While Travelling
                Around Australia, William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, Australia
                On the Road, video installation, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Australia
        2010 The Truth of Beauty, Obscure Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
        2009 My Beautiful Shadows, Obscure Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
        2008 My Beautiful Shadows, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Queensland, Australia
        2008 My Beautiful Shadows, ACMP Projection 08, Sun Studios Gallery, Sydney, Australia
        2006 The End of Summer, Eckersley’s Open Space Gallery, Melbourne, Australia


        Yi Hui
        1980 Born in Gulin, Guangxi Province
        2009 Female – Image International Photography Exhibition Nanjing
        2011 Them-Another World, Solo Exhibition, Ping Yao International Photography Festival


        Zhang Jin
        Born in 1978, currently lives and works in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China.
        2011 Whispers, Dali International Photography Festival, Dali, China
        2009 Parallel Translation, Chengdu, China
        2007 Intimate Distance, Qart Gallery, NYC, USA


        Zhang Kechun
        Born in 1980, currently lives and works in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China.


        Zhao Yiyi
        Born in 1987, currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        2011 Unspoken Dialogue, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China
                Her World, International Photography Contest Exhibition, Institut Francais de Chine, China
        2010 Foto8 Carousel Slide Slam, Host Gallery, London, UK
                So Shoot Me: Matters of Heart, The City Arts & Music Project, London, UK
                Honorable mention in Multimedia, PDNedu Student Photo Contest, New York, USA
                Dummy Book Award, Photobook Festival, Kassel, Germany
        2008 Winner of the Best Feature Film, Global Awards of Chinese New Media Creative Tube Nominated for Short film Competition Program, Cambridge International Film Festival, Tokyo Video Festival, and Busan Universiade For Digital Contents


        Zhou Shuoying
        Born in 1995, currently lives and works in Haikou, Hainan province, China. Zhou Shuoying is 16 years old and currently a student. Beginning in June 2011, she joined the team for Nadja's web magazine. In September she photographed the cover image for the magazine's two-year anniversary issue. At the moment she is developing the electronic magazine Yihe with her friends.


        Zhu Feng
        Born in 1974, currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.
        2011 Rotating Shanghai II – Works by Two Generations of Photography Artists in Shanghai, Projector, San Francisco, USA
                The 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hong Kong, Singapore
        2009 Reversed Images: Representations of Shanghai and Its Contemporary Material Culture, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA
                Shanghai Zero Degree: Zhu Feng Solo Exhibition, TimeZone 8, Beijing, China
                Shanghai Revolutions: Contemporary Chinese Photo Artists and Propaganda Posters from the Mao Era, 320o in Siófok, Hungary
                Stairway to heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers, Kansas City Art Institute, USA


        Zhu Mo
        Born in 1984, currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        2009 Bonfire, Empty Space, Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China

        2008 Photography is Like A Happy Encounter, OPPFX, Beijing, China




























          Following the invention of photography, pioneers in the field used the latest technology and, through tireless experimentation and research, developed the gelatin silver process. At the same time, the foundation for conceptual expression in photography was established and persists even now. In recent years, the explosion of digital technology has fundamentally altered the visual language of photographers and viewers, as well as the perception of a photographer's relationship with his or her subject.
          This year 354 photographers from around the country and abroad submitted their works to the Three Shadows Photography Award, 23 of whom were selected as finalists to participate in the Three Shadows Photography Award Exhibition. Among the finalists there are a number of artists who submitted works in previous years, but hadn't been chosen to be a finalist until this year. We hope everyone will always continue to believe in their own work and the importance of sharing it with the world. Do not become discouraged if your work isn't selected, but continue to determinedly strive to create art with substance. Additionally, we hope that through perseverance and hard work, you will continue to advocate your work to us. We look forward to even more outstanding works in the Three Shadows Photography Award exhibitions to come.
          A survey of this year's photographs reveals a trend in using series as the form and intent of the creative process. We can see works that pursue a sense of existence within the passage of time, and works in which the photographer uses the form of photography to present his or her own reflections on the medium. These works possess a style and atmosphere informed by the artist's conception of time. Many of this year's images, following the widespread use of digital technology and the strong styles it has inspired, have returned to meditate on time's passage, and photography's origin—the act of observing. This frank means of expression allows the artists' ideas to travel directly to the viewer's core. In recent years, we have been pleasantly surprised by how finalists for the Three Shadows award and the winners of the various prizes go on to become active in the domestic and international art worlds. Whenever we see these kinds of reports in the media, we are wholeheartedly convinced that we must keep the award going.
          Through the organization of the Caochangdi PhotoSpring festival and various other international exchange events, Three Shadows will gradually expand the scope of these activities. As such, we aim to become an art center which sits at the intersection of art photography, contemporary art and the exploration of photography's constant innovations, following the development and charting the course of photography's future.
          April 21, 2012 marks the opening of Caochangdi PhotoSpring – Arles in Beijing, and the time when we reveal the winners of the Three Shadows Photography Award, the Shiseido Outstanding Female Photographer Award, and the Tierney Foundation Fellowship. We wish to thank all the participants of the Three Shadows Photography Award, and especially the panel of international judges, which this year includes the famous German photographer Hilla Becher, Taiwanese photographer Juan I-Jong, Japanese head curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography Michiko Kasahara, director of the French Les Recontres d'Arles Photography Festival Francois Hebel, and American curator from the International Center of Photography Christopher Phillips.
          Once again, our deepest gratitude to everyone; your support makes the Three Shadows Photography Award possible.


        Crossover - the 2012 Three Shadows Photography Award
        The collection of submissions for the 2012 Three Shadows Photography Award began in June 2011 and ended in December, with 354 candidates submitting a total of several thousand works. The regions, ages, styles, methods, and materials represented embody the title of this year's photography award exhibition: Crossover. Among the 23 finalists taking part in this exhibition, ages range from sixteen to fifty, and they come from provinces all over the country, some even come from abroad. Their works take on all forms and explore a wealth of topics, brought together here to reflect the present landscape of Chinese photography.
        Photography has developed continuously since its invention, and matured into an independent art form, thereby accelerating changes in the definition of art, especially in the mid-1900s. Just as in the days following photography's invention when people lamented the death of painting, the advent of digital technology has caused people today to declare, “photography is dead!” The emergence of new technologies spurs further development in the language of photography, which by definition must follow the tides of change. Modernism and post-modernism have both done their part in accelerating the emergence of an abundant diversity of art forms.
        Reflecting on the present condition of photography in China, one can see that after 1976 the medium has experienced an accelerated transformation from a unified system of photojournalism to the separation of documentary and conceptual photography, and now to the present rise of a new generation of photographers. Chinese photography has gradually progressed from a tool of the social and political grand narrative to an instrument for channeling the photographer's own emotive inner world. The explorations of interiority amid the tumultuous metamorphosis of society, as well as the anxieties and restlessness individuals experience in their modern surroundings, all contribute to the present standing of Chinese photography in the 21st century. One can see young photographers embracing older processes in their choices of material this year. Ambrotype, cyanotype, daguerreotype, and platinum prints among others, have been adopted by some photographers. While Chinese photographers are filling in the gaps of current photography curriculums, they are also beginning to seriously reflect and investigate the beauty and aesthetics unique to each material, experimenting with different processes, and in doing so endowing them with fresh vitality, and adding to the photographic lexicon.
        The works in the 2012 TSPA exhibition demonstrate the many facets of photography's expressive power, using various materials and methods to construct a link between the outside world and the inner world, where the infinite number of images possible become refractions and reflections of one's inner voice. Three Shadows Photography Art Centre established the TSPA as a means to encourage the further advancement of Chinese photography. Through selection, exhibition, publishing, education and media coverage, combining resources from all corners of the community, and fostering domestic and international exchange, Three Shadows has created a unique platform for the future development of Chinese contemporary photography.


        From a Portrait of “Me” to a Portrait of “Us”
        Juan I-Jong

        My books Contemporary Master Photographers and New Talent in Contemporary Photography had a farreaching impact in mainland China at a time when information about photography was restricted.
        There are even some who would say that these books influenced two generations of photographers, and demonstrated to people from both sides of the strait that there were more techniques available and a broader road possible for image-based expression. In the 20 years since establishing Photographers International magazine, I collected images from the Marco Polo Bridge incident taken by war correspondent Fang Dazeng, who later went missing, published “Chinese Photography Special Issue”, “New Chinese Photography Special Issue”, and gave timely recognition and affirmation to the best Chinese photographers of the moment. In a way, I witnessed the entire transformation of mainland Chinese photography from its focus on painterly aesthetics to its pursuit of social and artistic change.
        I'm honored to be a judge for this year's Three Shadows Photography Award. The works by the 23 selected finalists are remarkable, and cover individual accounts of the city, female perspectives on self-exploration, critical observations on the connection between tradition and modernity, the philosophical questioning of life, as well as experimental images based on techniques from advertising, which mock the difference between reality and illusion. From these works it's not hard to see that all the artists have keen eyes and sensitive hearts. Some of them attempt to see the world more clearly and transparently, while others are interested in their immediate world. Regardless of whether they are looking out or looking within, they are all working to use light and form to capture atmospheres that are difficult to express.
        In my opinion, the proportion of works that record events is quite low. In other words, the elements of documentary photography are becoming weaker. Even though the content photographed is so concrete, the imagery the photographs communicate is full of dreams; the photographer's perspective has become microcosmic.
        In recent years, the tremendous changes in China's environment have had a great impact on photographers. Being unable to count on anything produces an inexpressible anxiety in people. They would like to use art to articulate a state of mind that can steady oneself. Some people turn to history to look for their roots, while others search within themselves. No matter which direction one chooses to walk, everyone is eager to emphasize his or her individual style, to testify the existence of self in all respects. If this notion of “I” can be expanded to become “us”, I believe this type of work can better reflect society and current times, and thus will reach an even greater audience. Best wishes to all.


        Michiko Kasahara

        In order to prepare for my judging duties, I studied the materials that Three Shadows sent me. I browsed the works from the 23 finalists twice, making notes as I did so. Although in order to make this kind of judgment one needs to consider the print quality, the exhibition, the status of the artist behind the works, gender, etc., I believe that overall this is a powerful collection of photographs. I was left with the strong impression that Chinese photographers are already active in a phase marked by globalization's recent completion and are now creating outside the confines of a “Chinese” label. If one thinks back to China's strength in the art market in the years following 2000, one can understand that perhaps this was inevitable. Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and South Korea to judge contemporary photography. In subject matter, conceptual structure, expression, process and other aspects, the works I saw didn't vary greatly between regions, which in itself contains some peril. Styles easily assimilated and embraced by the market make it hard to avoid the feeling of encountering duplicates. I hope that Chinese photographers can confront China's present in their own lives and their premonitions for its near future in their work, and share them with the world. I look forward to encountering this kind of artwork.