Pingyao International Photography Festival – China

The conference was incredible! The Adelaide attendees are keeping a little website dedicated to the experience at Please head on over to see just what we found in the only remaining walled city in China. Pingyao is over 500 years old – it’s incredible!

Also, for some reason my domain was blocked from China during the conference. If you’ve found this website while looking for my artwork you can see it here – even from China 🙂

The Road to Pingyao

Right this minute I’m on a bullet train from Beijing to Taiyuan, China. It’s very much like the trains Brian and I took on our adventure through Europe in 2001 – except for the view out the window.

views from the bullet train Beijing -> Taiyuan

Chinese "Hollywood" sign?

We keep going through enormous tunnels in the mountains with little peeks at verdant valleys before plunging into another cave.

I met up with Alice, Sundari and Courtney on Thursday evening after a marathon series of flights from Portland to Beijing. I was entirely unprepared for the view of Beijing I saw from the aircraft window as we descended into pink smog. The skyscrapers went on and on seemingly endlessly. The taxi waiting for me at the airport deserves a medal (or a NASCAR membership) for negotiating the peak hour traffic that was my first impression of Beijing. I wanted to just fall asleep in the cab, but all the honking and crazy moves made that impossible.

There are many many cyclists in this busy metropolis, and not one of them wears a helmet. Many of them have various children on precarious perches, or drive a laden tricycle. The motor vehicles honk their horns nearly constantly, and the cyclists ring their bells – however I have not seen a single instance of road rage – even at the scene of an accident. Remarkable. It’s more of a tootle tootle “sorry coming through in a bit of a rush – please don’t get hurt” kind of bedlam. After a visit to the night market and a stroll through one of the shopping districts the rain bucketed down clearing the air. It’s been clear and summery since.

The courtyard at Peking Youth Hostel, Beijing

Chinese people have been very friendly to us and eager to help. Our hostel is in an authentic hutong with a lovely peaceful courtyard garden and walking distance to many attractions including the Night Market, Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square.

The following day we ventured to the 789 Arts Precinct with our friends Bronek and Pauline from RMIT. I hadn’t considered that China might have a bustling Arts community (although of course there must be many!) and it was such a great day. I splurged in the Woo silk gallery, and spent lots of time in small artisan studios and big architectural gallery spaces. My favorite exhibition was Yang Yongliang’s work at the Paris Beijing Gallery. We finished off the day with a big banquet on “Red Lantern” street (so dubbed by Pauline).

looking back on the days journey - Great Wall of China

Yesterday the four of us took a tour bus to the Great Wall of China and walked from x to x. Much of the way was overgrown and crumbling and (literally) breathlessly beautiful the whole way. We had ideal weather for the hike – for a group of photographers we were in our own special Nirvana – especially as there was never a complaint about stopping to reload film or for one more photograph. Each of us took a different format camera and it will be exciting to see how the various cameras respond.

I ♥ Portland

Surprise! I’m in Portland Oregon for my dear friend Andrew & his super delightful bride Alison’s wedding. I didn’t know I was going to make it here until the very last minute, but it all came together in the end & I’m so happy it did! It is very strange to be in P-Town sans B, and stranger still to be away from our little ones – but *wonderful* to celebrate this happy occasion, and as always, Portland in the summer is The Most.
A&A kindly found me a room in the Ace Hotel. Every room has murals on the walls by a local artist, even the stairwell!

'Good Luck' saucers at Stumptown Coffee

Right next door is the superb coffee shop Stumptown who have this little message for me each morning

Today was the wedding reception – a massive picnic in the beautiful Washington Park. I met so many lovely, interesting people! Like Andrew’s cousin Ryan who took this photo

I have a few more days in town before I head off to China & the PIP Festival 🙂 Excitement!

Goonies Never Say Die

On our last day in P-town, we knew we had to rent a car to get our bums up to Seattle to meet up with Jamie-san & catch a flight to Fairbanks, so we decided to make the most of it with a just-like-old-times road trip to the coast.

Cannon Beach is where we’d go to get Aurelia a fix o’ the seaside when she was particularly homesick. Brimming with Northwestern seaside charm & tourist trappery, we managed to find the best place to have some brunch.

You may be familiar with Haystack Rock, once seen on the silver screen in the background as Mikey sights up the Fratelli’s hideout in search of One-Eyed Willie’s lost treasure.

Reya says “It is mandatory for members of my family to visit Cannon Beach & do a little happy dance!”

Sneaking like a tiger in the long grasses is also acceptable.

Before we left town, we dropped in on Steidel Art Studios & scored some great prints, like this one (although the colours aren’t all blown out on ours), & we probably gutsed a bunch of saltwater taffy too.

Next up: Alaska!