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        On January 25, 2011, the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre Photography Award selection committee has made its selections. Of more than two hundred applicants, twenty have been selected, including Chen Zhe, Chou Minye, Chu Chu, He Xiaohua, Lian Zhiping, Lin Zhipeng, Luo Dan, Qi Hong, Ren Hang, Shen Linghao, Ta Ke, Wang Xinwei, Wei Bi, Xu Lijing, Yan Zhou, Yang Nannan, Yang Ya, Zhang Hui, Zhou Wei, and Zi Bai.
               This year's Photography Award, included not only the Three Shadows Photography Award, but also the Shiseido Prize for Female Photographers and the Tierney Fellowship. The final results of the competition had be announced on April 23, 2011, after the international final selection committee has made its decision. The Three Shadows Photography Award Ceremony, the opening for the 2011 Three Shadows Photography Award Exhibition, and the opening of Caochangdi PhotoSpring was held on that day.

        Chen Zhe won the Three Shadows Photography Award, Chu Chu the Shiseido Prize for Female Photographers, and Luo Dan the Tierney Fellowship.

        Chen Zhe
        Born in 1989 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, USA.


        Chu Chu
        Born in 1975 and currently lives and works in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
        2000 Bachelor's Degree in Painting from the China Academy of Art
        2007 Master's Degree in New Media from the China Academy of Art
        Solo Exhibitions:
        2008 It's Not It, OFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, China
        Group Exhibitions:
        2010  Beyond the Body, MoCA, Shanghai, China
                The First International Contemporary Art Festival of China Jimei, Xiamen, China
                Another Landscape, Beijing, Shanghai, and Dali, China
        2009 Moving, Likailin Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, Manchester, UK
                Art Beijing Contemporary Art Fair, Beijing, China
        2008 Genius, Xiaoping Gallery, Shanghai, China
                The Creativity of Women, Houston, USA
        2007 The Alchemy of Shadows, Lianzhou, China
                The Twelfth Lishui International Photography Festival, Lishui, China
               Passing: Ten Scenes from West Lake, Hangzhou, China


        He Xiaohua
        Born in 1967 and currently lives and works in Liaozhou, Guangxi Province.
        Graduated from the PLA Information Engineering College, then went on to advanced studies at Beijing Film Academy.
        2010 China's Dong Minority at the Three Rivers Catalog wins second place at China Book Contest
        2009 China's Dong Minority at the Three Rivers, Nanning, Liaozhou, and Guilin, Guangxi, China
        2007 On the Training Grounds, Excellence Award at the Twelfth National Photography Art Exhibition


        Lian Zhiping
        Born in 1974 and currently lives and works in Xiamen, China and Berlin, Germany.


        Lin Zhipeng
        Born in 1979 and currently lives and works in Beijing, China.


        Luo Dan
        Born in 1968 and currently lives and works in Chengdu, Sichuan.
        Luo Dan graduated from the Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 1992. From 1997 to 2007, he was a newspaper photographer. In 2006, he created 318

        National Highways, and in 2008, he shot North, South. Simple Songs he took in 2010.


        Qi Hong
        Born in 1962 and lives and works in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
        2010 Seemingly Spring Sunshine: Qi Hong Solo Exhibition, Beijing, China
                Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Qi Hong Solo Exhibition, Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Française en Chine, Wuhan, China
                Three Shadows Photography Award Exhibition, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China
        2009 Third Annual Guangzhou International Guangzhou Photography Biennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
                Chengdu, Chengdu: Qi Hong Photography Exhibition, Chengdu, Sichuan
        2008 NEVER MORE, Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House, Chengdu, China
                FOTOBILD BERLIN Photography Fair, Berlin, Germany
                Qi Hong Solo Exhibition: City Boundary, Beijing China
                The Street Belongs to All of Us, International Traveling Exhibition, China Section, Institut pour la Ville en Mouvement and Zendai Museum
        of Modern Art
                Seeing China, Beijing Art Museum of the Imperial City, Beijing, China
        2007 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, Shenzhen, China
                National Geographic Photography Competition, China Section, Beijing, China
                Best Photographer No. 5 of 10, Annual World Photography Contest, Switzerland
        2006 Second Prize, China International Press Photo Contest (CHIPP), Shenzhen, China


        Qiu Minye
        Born in 1978 and currently lives and works in Guangzhou, Guangdong.


        Ren Hang
        Born in 1986 and currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        2010 Warm, Shanghai, China
         Flickr-ing, New Photo Magazines Exhibitions, Hong Kong
         INTERCOURSE WITH BEIJING, Ren Hang Photography Exhibition and Rock Concert, Beijing, China
         INTERCOURSE WITH SHANGHAI, Ren Hang Photography Exhibition, Shanghai, China
         I Am This Way, 789 Arts and Culture Festival, Beijing, China
         Eat Naked Lunch! Ren Hang Solo Exhibition, Shanghai, China
         Saturation, National Film Screening
         Wake Up After He Was Gone, Wuhan, China
         The First International Contemporary Art Festival of China Jimei, Xiamen, China
         IN TO THE MOOD, Hong Kong
         TORA TORA TORA: Chinese Cutting-Edge Photography Exhibition, Caochangdi PhotoSpring, Beijing, China
        2010  [Experimental] Image Documents: “Natural-Unnatural” Picture Unit, Beijing, China
        2009 Ren Hang Short Film Exhibition, Beijing, China
         80s Peaceful Evolution, Hong Kong
         City Flaming, Xi’an, China
         Joy Island, Woman-Image International Photography Exhibition, Nanjing, China
         Personal Chat, Shanghai, China
         NOFOUND, France
         Ren Hang Solo Exhibition, Beijing, China
         Difference-Gender, Beijing, China
         Ren Hang & Huan Dao Traveling Photography Exhibition (First Stop), Guilin, China
         Ren Hang Solo Exhibition, Guilin, China
         Light Up: Photography + Poetry + Video, Shijiazhuang, China


        Shen Linghao
        Born in 1988 and lives and works in Shanghai, China.
        2010 It's Funny Funny, Fei Art Center, Shanghai, China
         Pending: Fudan University Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts and Fine Arts Invitational Exhibition, Shanghai Institute of Visual Art  

        Information Center, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
         Minority Revolution: Exhibition of College Students Art & Design, Shanghai, China
        2010 Pingyao International Photography Exhibition, Pingyao, China
        2009 Sea Level: Public Art and Sculpture, 99 Creative Center, Fine Arts College, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
         VASI: National Art Student Exhibition, Factory, Shanghai, China
         Fresh Air, WHOMHOUSE, Hangzhou, China


        Ta Ke
        Born in 1984 and currently lives and works in the US.
        Ta Ke was admitted to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2003 and moved to New York in 2005. The next year, he entered the Photography Department

        of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). In 2008, Ta Ke transferred to the Art Students' League of New York and entered Ronnie Landfield's

        studio. In 2010, he won the Hey Hot Shot New Photography Award and the 2010Xu Xiaobing Art Collectors' Award. In 2010, he also won the Lianzhou

        International Photography Festival Photographer of the Year Award. Ta Ke has had exhibitions in China and New York and his work has been collected

        by both individuals and public institutions.

        Wang Xinwei
        Born in 1977 and currently lives and works in Guangzhou, Guangdong.
        Solo Exhibitions:
        2009  Past of Heyuan, Chinese Documentary Photography Exhibition, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, Guangzhou, China
        Group Exhibitions:
        2010 From Pingyao to Dali, Group Exhibition of Sixteen Southerners, Dali International Photography Festival, Dali China, 
        2009 Seeking Broken Memories, HOW Space, Third Guangzhou Photography Biennial, Guangzhou, China
        2006 Guangdong, Third Place Annual Photographer Award, Lianzhou International Photography Festival, Lianzhou, China


        Wei Bi
        Born in 1967 and currently lives and works in Dalian, Liaoning Province.
        2010 Meng Xi, Dali International Photography Exhibition, Dali, China
        2009 Four Dimensions: Contemporary Photography from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau, Hong Kong Photography Festival, Hong Kong
         Brave New World, Athens Photo Festival, Athens, Greece
         International Discoveries II, FOTOFEST, Houston, USA
         Sightings: Searching for the Truth, Guangzhou Photography Biennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
        2007 Untitled, Guangzhou Photography Biennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
        2005 Paper Ship, Lianzhou International Photograph Exhibition, Lianzhou, China


        Xu Lijing
        Born in 1986 and currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
        2010 National Photography Art Exhibition
         National Photography Art Exhibition
         Photographic Lighting Talk, Canon Gallery, Beijing, China
         Self-Portrait Photography Talk, Beijing Center of Photography, Beijing, China
        2009 New Young Photographer, Pingyao International Photography Exhibition, Pingyao, China

        Yan Zhou
        Born in 1986 and currently lives and works in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.
        2010 2010 Screenage Art Document Exhibition, Songzhuang Art Center, Beijing, China
         First Shaanxi Contemporary Art Exhibition, International Exhibition Center, Xi'an, China
        2009 Spirited Away, Zendai MoMA, Shanghai, China
        2008 Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Youth Experimental Image Project, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
         Green Hope Project: Art Cheer up China --- Today Art Student Annual Awards 2008, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
         Augen-Blick 2.0 –Mirroring China, Berlin University of the Arts, Berlin, Germany
        2007 First Xi'an Contemporary Art Document Exhibition, Xi'an, China
         Second Yushan Exhibition, Yushan Jiuzhuang, Xi'an, China
         Third Sino-Japanese Performance Art Exchange Project Exhibition, Fangyan Contemporary Art Center, Xi'an, China
        2007 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, Xi'an Blue Field Project, Xi’an, China


        Yang Nannan
        Born in 1985 and currently lives and works in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.


        Yang Ya
        Born in 1988 and currently lives and works in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.


        Zhang Hui
        Born in 1970 and currently lives and works in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.


        Zhou Wei
        Born in 1969 and currently lives and works in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province.
        Solo Exhibitions:
        2010 Zhou Wei Solo Exhibition, Changzhou, China
        Group Exhibitions
        2010 A Southern Record, Guangzhou., China
         The Power of Staring: Documentary Photography, Wuxi and Changzhou, China
        2009 Seven Mirrors and a Century, Changzhou Photography Centennial Exhibition, Changzhou, China
         From the Great Wall to the Ural Mountains International Photography Festival, Yekaterinburg, Russia


        Zi Bai
        Born in 1968 and currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.
        2010 Parable: Face the World, Solo Exhibition, Shanghai, China
         Is this Photography? Zen Photo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
         Art Fair Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
         Extend Territory, Beijing, China
         Will to Height: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
        2010 International Science and Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
        2009 MosaiCity, Fellini Gallery, Shanghai, China
         Nonlinear Narrative: Chinese Power, Shanghai, China
         Dialogues between Image Cultures, Sino-American Photography Exhibition, Lishui, China
        2008 Outstanding Contribution Award, Solo Exhibition, Ninth Shanghai International Photography Festival
         Solo Exhibition, Man Xiang Art Space, Shanghai, China
        2007 Invited by Sans Frontieres France to Festival Photo Le Gacilly, Nantes, France
        2006 Solo Exhibition, Third Duyun International Photography Expo

























        Words from the Three Shadows Founders

        It has been three years since the establishment of the Three Shadows Photography Award. As the seasons pass, winter is always the longest and most arduous for us.
        However, we can always count on the spring winds to blow once again. Our spirits are always lifted as spring begins to reawaken the world.
        This year, 191 Chinese photographers from all over the world submitted portfolios to the Three Shadows Award. After looking carefully through all of the submissions, we selected twenty to exhibit. The youngest of these photographers are in their early twenties; their work does not have a fixed form or theoretical background.
        Through the vision of these young people, we are shown the possibilities of photography. Technology is constantly changing, but the use of photography as a way of expressing inspiration has not changed. These young people are using photography to express themselves and explore life. This undeveloped power is the prime mover of our new world. Photography has always possessed unknown possibilities that we find utterly stunning.
        At the judging for the exhibition, these twenty artists will have the chance to meet and interact with our international panel of judges, including Sarah Meister, Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, François Hébel, Director of Les Rencontres d’Arles, Eikoh Hosoe, Director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Gu Zheng, independent photography critic, and RongRong, Founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. We hope that this exhibition and judging that we can provide them with a new platform, which helps them to find the secret paths to their futures.
        The Third Three Shadows Photography Award is a part of the 2011 Caochangdi PhotoSpring – Arles in Beijing. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the enthusiastic participants, our judges who have come such a long way, and all those who have supported the Award. The success of this year’s Award is entirely due to your support.
        RongRong and inri
        Founders of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre
        April 2011


        Response to 2011 Three Shadows Photography Award Semifinalists

        Sarah Meister

        Any curator'’s perspective is shaped by the works of art and the pedagogical models he or she knows best, and I am no exception. Characterizing the photographs in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York is beyond the scope of this response, but a brief description of four pivotal curatorial moments for photography at the Museum seems a reasonable way of providing a context for my assessment of the Semifinalists for the 2011 Three Shadows Photography Award.
        MoMA was founded in 1929, and its Department of Photography was formally established just over a decade later, with Beaumont Newhall as its first Curator. Newhall's exhibition Photography 1839–1937 was the first attempt to tell a comprehensive history of the medium on the eve of the 100th anniversary of its invention. The exhibition and its accompanying publication helped introduce the key figures from photography's first century – albeit exclusively those who participated in its European and American traditions – beginning with its inventors William Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre through Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Muybridge, and Cameron Watkins. More relevant to this award, however, was Newhall’s attempt to identify photographic accomplishment of his own time, through the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Man Ray, Lisette Model, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, and others. Many of these individuals were Newhall’s contemporaries, for whom the Museum's commitment to the art of photography was critically important and who have since come to define photography in the first part of the twentieth century. I am optimistic that the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre represents a comparably significant institution for photographers working in China today, and that the work of at least some of these Semifinalists might prove to be equally influential.
        Subsequent heads of the Department of Photography at the Museum have had their own opportunities to explore and define the medium's potential. Edward Steichen's goal for his 1955 exhibition The Family of Man was no less than to be “a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world.” Encompassing 503 images by 273 photographers from 69 countries, this exhibition employed a thematic structure to find common threads between photographers as diverse in substance and style as Robert Frank and Irving Penn. The danger of this approach, particularly with respect to a New York-based curator assessing the work of a group of young Chinese photographers, is that similarities of process or subject can belie profound differences in meaning. Luo Dan's portraits of individuals in remote villages may superficially resemble Judith Joy Ross's portraits made in rural Pennsylvania, but one should be wary of implying a deeper connection. Similarly, Shen Linghao's use of extreme grain, contrast and blur brings to mind the work of post-War Japanese photography, but it is the photographer who can clarify the significance of that shared vocabulary.
        By 1966, John Szarkowski was the Director of the Department of Photography. He described his first book, The Photographer's Eye, as “an investigation of what photographs look like, and of why they look that way.” To conduct this investigation, Szarkowski identified five characteristics of a photographic way of seeing that remain helpful in approaching unfamiliar work. “The Thing Itself” (which called attention to the fact that the subject and the picture are not the same thing) might be a way to approach the tension in Lin Zhipeng's work between the who and where of his figures in the landscape and the meaning of that identity and placement. “The Detail” (which highlighted photography's connection to the real world) is a useful rubric to appreciate the alternately seductive and repulsive extreme close-ups by Chen Zhe. Zhou Wei's decision to include the (occasionally fogged) black negative borders around his photographs of Tai Lake suggests the importance of edge awareness implied by "The Frame." Qi Hong's strategy to present photographs across two negative frames from his series Caochangdi is but one way in which a photographer addresses "Time" and its passage. Finally, a discussion of "Vantage Point" (which draws attention to the unexpected places photographers venture with their cameras) could provide a starting point for an analysis of Ta Ke's series Poetic Mountains Tested by the Rivers.
        Of course, several of these characteristics could be applied to almost all of the Semifinalists, but perhaps by articulating each one, young photographers might apply them as tools for understanding their own work. Jump forward nearly thirty years, and the next Chief Curator of Photography, Peter Galassi, presented another model for understanding influence with respect to photographic creation. American Photography 1890-1965 demonstrated the fertility of the exchange between photography's fine art and vernacular traditions. (A vernacular photograph is one that was made as anything but a work of art, from a personal snapshot to a medical record, or from an advertisement to a surveillance photo.) The photographs of Ren Hang or Yang Nannan might best be understood in the context of contemporary fashion or magazine work (simultaneously drawing from and contributing to the development of those sources, as with the work of Philip-Lorca diCorcia), or as expressions of a counter-culture that both invigorates and is inspired by their photographic practice (more akin to Nan Goldin).
        Curatorial practice requires judgment, but also an appreciation for where that judgment should not be trusted. Without access to the finished works, and without the ability to read Chinese (which would be helpful in understanding the calligraphy that spills onto the portraits and landscapes by Wei Bi, for instance), I am skeptical of my preliminary responses to the work of these young photographers. I need to hear more, see more, and learn more to transform my initial impressions into informed opinions, and I look forward to doing so in Beijing later this spring. I hope these decidedly MoMA-centric frameworks for approaching the history and practice of photography will facilitate a more meaningful exchange between our varied pedagogical perspectives.


        Visualizing the Deep Entanglement of Society and the Individual

        Gu Zheng

        As I type this essay, the winner of the 2011 Three Shadows Photography Award has not been announced. However, I have had the opportunity to see all twenty photographers' work, and in those photographs you could truly feel these photographers' lasting enthusiasm for photography and their abundant creativity.
        The finalists in this year's exhibition all have different styles, but they are equal in visual power. Although each focuses on a different theme, they are all devoted to the perfect combination of concept and technique, breaking photography's unique expressive restraints in space and time to present their world and worldview.
        Whether simple or enchanting, profound or exciting, dark and gloomy or bright and cheerful, direct or indirect, their works are based on the sublimation and crystallization of an independent lived experience and artistic aesthetic. The complexity and richness of life and reality is made more mysterious and intricate because of their visual explanation. I think that they do not want to use photography to simplify their understanding of life and reality, but rather they want to use it to immerse themselves in the more complicated and dark hidden places of human nature and the world, in order to explore hard-won secrets. Although they use their own mirror to repulse the outside world with which they are confronted, but that outside world is reflect in their film or CCD image, full of introspection and consideration; they do not present us with a simple and direct reflection. These photographers work hard to avoid being tricked by specious ideas, while focusing on improving their art.

        For this reason, their work often has aspects of both introspection and openness. Although some of these works are still being improved, they contain a sincerity and an enthusiasm for life and reality. Regardless of whether this enthusiasm is based on their immense despair at life and reality or their deep affection for these things, their works are firstly a dialogue with themselves, but this does remove the possibility of a dialogue with reality. Therefore, they use photography to bring themselves and the audience into a universal zone of time and space. In this sense, their works are in dialogue with China and the world.
        Due to the richness and complexity of these works, they are very important for our re-understanding of contemporary Chinese photography. In the course of the development of contemporary Chinese photography, many works appear monotonous and blunt in style and concept for historical and aesthetic reasons. It is relatively easy to recognize and affirm their concept, theme, and content in these works; the interaction between the content and the form is often simple and direct. Therefore, over a long period of time, this situation restricts people's understanding of contemporary Chinese photography to a certain extent. However, recently, this situation has changed significantly. These changes have been concretely and clearly reflected in the works submitted for the Three Shadows Award. Through their observation of every facet of contemporary Chinese society and their rich and varied styles and techniques, these photographs attempt to do away with the common misconception that the worlds of international photography and art have had for many years that Chinese contemporary photography simply and exclusively expresses certain socio-political requirements. In contrast, these photographers present a more rich and complex vision, which is cause for rejoicing. However, I have always worried that Chinese photographer will begin to care only about themselves and their own pain, after rejecting straightforward themes. Especially today, as contemporary Chinese society changes rapidly, the relationship between the individual and reality has become increasingly complicated; we must learn to handle the relationship between our public and private personas. It is still very important and urgent that they present deep thoughts and judgment on reality and use photography to visualize the deep entanglement of society and the individual.
        I sincerely hope that, through their social intuition and artistic motivations, these photographers will protect the aesthetic principles they have already created or are in the process of creating. Of course, this does not imply that they will never change them. These principles will need to be supplemented by mature and exquisite skill to precisely and subtlety express these photographers' views on life and reality.
        Chinese photographers' sincere collective experiments over a period of time will certainly bear abundant fruit. I want to express my sincere thanks to the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre for their hard work and outstanding contributions, including the important and influential act of establishing the Centre itself.