Whilst in Beijing we visited the majestic Temple of Heaven, a complex of buildings that was the place of prayer for the Emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Architecturally it is a gem. Along the way, in the surrounding parks, the locals were practising Tai Chi - dancing in unison to aerobic music or practising the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy.
Using large brushes and water, elderly gentlemen gracefully laid down the characters on the large flagstones of the path leading to the temples. The Chinese are by nature a friendly people and on most occasions pose willingly for a photograph. They are also very proud of their country and its rich heritage. I can perfectly understand why.
After a stop at a traditional Chinese Tea House, next on the itinerary was the palatial Forbidden City. This complex consists of 980 buildings and used to be the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty untill the end of the Qing Dynasty. It now houses the Palace Museum.
I really couldn't wait for the next item on the agenda. A visit to the Olympic Park, the famed Bird's Nest stadium and Water Cube. As a photographer with a penchant for architecture I was eager to see these two masterpieces up close and find some interesting angles. I have to say that it took me some time to raise up my camera to eye level. When faced with these two design masterpiece, I just stood rooted in awe, blown away by the perfect harmony of sheer design genius and engineering prowess.
The last day in Beijing was dedicated to a visit to the Great Wall and a trek up a steep flight of innumerable steps to one of the look out towers. Not an easy task when you have around nine kilos of photo equipment on your back!
But apart from the visual aspect of it all I was immensely impressed by the importance that China gives to all things cultural. Whether it's theatre, photography or art in general, one could see that the local authorities have culture at the top of their priorities list and invest heavily in it.
On arrival in Jinan we were all given a VIP pass and I have to say that we were treated as such. The Shungeng Hillview Hotel was top notch and the opening of the Biennial at the spacious Shungeng International Convention and Exhibition Centre was a huge thing. Mayors, presidents (including the president of the Professional Photographers of America), dignitaries and important people from the cultural scene were in attendance. It was also great to meet other international photographers of high standing and discuss this fantastic medium.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 194 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 20th January 2021