|THE ISLAND PAGODA by John Thomson|
"Many people have a conception of China as very industrialized and modern, even sterile, but the photographs on the exhibition walls complicate that notion, and reveal the country's incredible beauty and geographic diversity," says Sarah Kennel, PEM's Byrne Family Curator of Photography."This exhibition affirms how photography can bring us back
in time and can change the way we see the world."
Among the many remote and dramatic landscapes, the Yuen-Fu Monastery fascinated Thomson where he set up his camera at various points along the steep, rocky terrain. No doubt the journey was even more challenging for his Chinese porters, who had to carry not only his equipment, but also Thomson, his dog, and a large coterie of traveling companions up the stairs in sedan.
|Thomson's Altar of Heaven, Lone figure in the Foreground|
This exhibition is complemented by a section of photographs by contemporary artist LUO DAN who was inspired by Thomson to undertake his own journey in southwestern China where he lived with and photographed the Lisu and Nu Christian ethnic minority communities for nearly two years. Image: John Thomson, Coolies 1870-71.Carbon print, gift of the Estate of Mrs. Anthony Rives. (c) Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Ken Sawyer.
Nearly 150 years after Thomson photographed in China, Chinese photographer Luo Dan's (b. 1968) SIMPLE SONG series features 10 works by Luo that reflect and reverberate with the spirit of Thomson's 19th century
|John Thomson Coolies 1870-71|
. Ta Ta Darlings!!! You may not be going to China soon, but the Peabody Essex Museum takes you there vicariously visiting such remote places that even modern Chinese have probably never seen before. Fan mail: email@example.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column on links to visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion historian,and poetry.