Heaven and Earth
19/07/13Our recent travels to Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in China, was for me both an opportunity to visit the ancestral home of my parents and grandparents, as well as a chance to experience some cultural aspects of life in semi-rural and rural settings. Although many of the larger cities in China are unique, they are nonetheless large urban centres with many similarities to cities in any other developed nation. As a Landscape Photographer, I was particularly drawn to Yunnan and Sichuan, with a wide variety of landscapes from rice terraces to sacred mountains. When renowned photographers Alister Benn and Juanli Sun of Available Light Images offered a photographic journey through these provinces, I literally jumped at the chance.
Alister and Juanli had been living in Lijiang, Yunnan for the past seven years and knew the landscapes intimately. However, what they also possessed was a rare connection with both the people and the environment they lived in, which is reflected in their photography. Their philosophy on photography is best described in their artist’s statement here .
Throughout the 3-week journey, the aspect of life in China and Tibet that I most appreciated was the connection between the people (amongst the various ethnic minorities), the land and their spirituality. This is reflected in various ways, from respect of the land they farm, the many stupas each with local and broader significance, the sacredness of holy mountains, the reverence at monasteries, and prayer flags that bring harmony and enlightenment to all.
Recently I was speaking to renowned artist Tin Ly, who posed the question as to what my images from China represented, and was there a theme or message in the series? My reply was “Heaven and Earth”.
Photographer: Alvin Ing, Light and Motion Photography
Music: "We Share the same Sun" - Stereophonics: Graffiti on the Train