One of the highlights in the Sapporo Convention Center during the 2008 iSummit was the exhibit of more than one hundred photographs, part of the CC China Mainland photography contest held in China in 2007. All the photos, from both amateur and professional photographers, were licensed under the China Mainland version of the Creative Commons licenses.

cc-china-photo-exhibition-2-by-zhu-handong.jpgThis exhibition is unique in bringing together the works of grass roots and professional photographers in China. They not only are documenting the social, human and daily lives of the Chinese people, they are also joining forces in supporting the ideals of open access, as promoted by Creative Commons.

This exhibit is particularly important in reflecting some of the creative changes which have taken place in the new China. From the 1950’s to the 1980’s, Chinese photography was used mainly as a political instrument of the government. So China has not really had a visual history of its ordinary people until recently.

This unique collection of CC licensed Chinese photography has received wide press coverage in China. Examples include stories on China’s leading web site for professional photographers, CPhoto, the official site of the China Photographers Association, China Photograph Online, the FotoMen site, Art News, and China Visual.

This photo exhibition consists of two parts. The first part is made up of the best submissions to the CC-licensed photographic works contest held in 2007. It was, jointly sponsored by CC China Mainland and
The majority of these works beautifully capture the social, cultural, and scenic flavor of contemporary China, as rendered in the eloquent portraits of its people. Coming from diverse communities of Chinese photography amateurs on the mainland, these photographs bear witness to the trials, tribulations and celebrations of the times, catching the pulse of Chinese society in a visual language which embodies the grass roots spirit of the people.

The second part of the exhibition includes the works of the ten most important  professional Chinese photographers who chose to release  their works under the  China Mainland version of the CC licenses.  Like their amateur counterparts, these photographers also bore testimony to the exciting transformations of Chinese society.

athletic-boy-on-caochang-street-photo-by-liu-yingyi.jpgEvery image in this collection tells the story of different social and cultural groups in the various regions of China. As pioneers who led a significant movement in the history of Chinese photography, the contributions of these photographers do not stop at just creating images. More importantly, these photographs have awakened a sense of social conscience for the Chinese people and opened up whole new horizons for their successors.

We are delighted that visitors to the exhibit expressed their appreciation for the photographs, as evidenced by these wonderful comments from our visitor guest book:

A beautiful exhibition!     cc-china-photo-exhibition-by-zhu-handong.jpg
Congratulations on such a successful competition.
The work is very inspiring for the iCommons community.
What a wonderful space, full of very special images.
Thank you for amazing photos! I love them.
Great pictures!
Stunning photos that capture the spirit and lives of people in China.
Great photos!

This exhibit is here at the suggestion of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito. The curator for the exhibit is Xiaobo Chen. The members of the CC China Mainland team who mounted the exhibit are Handong Zhu, Yi Zheng, and Song Shi. They had the very difficult task of very carefully boxing up more than one hundred photos, making sure they survived the flight from Beijing, and then guiding them through Japanese customs! Support for this exhibition was also provided by CC China Mainland Advisory Board members Professor Jing Wang and Dr. Stewart Cheifet. The entire project was created and managed by Professor Chunyan Wang, Project Lead for CC China Mainland. Funding for the exhibit was provided by the Ford Foundation.