Critical Mass Goes to China!

Images (L to R): Jeffrey Stockbridge, Ilona Szwarc

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to China for the Lishui International Photography Festival. I’d been invited to curate a documentary portraiture exhibition for the festival, so I popped over to Lishui to assist with the installation and attend the opening. What an event! It’s a city-wide photography extravaganza: exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and photo ops abound. They even had dancing dragons and special-effects smoke at the opening ceremony (we might need to up our game here at Photolucida). In addition to my show, Portland photographer Fritz Liedtke curated an exhibit highlighting the work of the eight Photolucida Portfolio Reviews photographers who attended the festival in 2013 (Barbara Ciurej, Susan Kae Grant, Heidi Kirkpatrick, Jim Leisy, Clay Lipsky, Bill Vaccaro, Ryan Zoglin, and Fritz himself). He also displayed a powerful series of personal work about people struggling with eating disorders.

I decided to focus my image selections on Critical Mass finalists and Top 50 artists from the last few years. The CM archives are bursting with incredible talent, so I had rich resources to draw from. The resulting exhibition, entitled “Violence, Resilience, and the Human Spirit,” included works by: Leslie Alsheimer, Noah David Bau, Ben Brody, Claudio Cambon, Calvin Chen, Kirk Crippens, Scott Dalton, Natan Dvir, Alinka Echeverria, Gloria Baker Feinstein, Michelle Frankfurter, Patricia Galagan, Matthew Goddard-Jones, Carlos Gonzalez, Toni Greaves, Tamsin Green, Satu Haavisto, Deborah Hamon, Lucia Herrero, Stella Johnson, Corinna Kern, Meeri Koutaniemi, Ikuru Kuwajima, Alvaro Laiz, Jimmy Lam, Gloriann Liu, Rania Matar, David Pace, Ohm Phanphiroj, Walker Pickering, Jessica Eve Rattner, Reiner Riedler, Gilles Roudiere, Maureen Ruddy Burkhart, Michelle Sank, Alix Smith, Jeffrey Stockbridge, Ilona Szwarc, Iveta Vaivode, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ji Yeo.

From the exhibition text:

“The photographers I have chosen for the exhibition have traveled the world to shed light on some of the most compelling issues of our day. My hope is that the exhibition offers a thought-provoking look at the face of our global experience. The images reference religious rituals, the lives of teenaged girls, war, family traditions, boy prostitutes on the streets of Thailand, the transgendered experience, homelessness, advertising and the American landscape, cultural festivals, female genital mutilation, children at play, plastic surgery and the search for beauty, environmental politics, and the fragile beauty of the human condition. Overall, the exhibition is a wide-ranging look at the hope, struggle, love, despair, beauty, violence, and compassion that characterize our modern world.”

Here’s a little video of some of the exhibition installation.
See more at the Lishui International Photography Festival website.
Fritz Liedtke’s work at Lishui