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Picture perfect and almost anyone can do it

THE art of photography is now, thanks to the ready availability of digital cameras, open to all. But some photographers are taking the opportunity to push the boundaries of the art form. Wang Jie focuses.

These days when digital cameras are common, photography is no longer an art form restricted to the privileged as it once was.

But how can an ordinary person work at creating genuinely artistic pictures with a camera? The answer might lie in the Color Image Contest held by Epsite and on display at M50.

"'Exceed Your Vision' is our global slogan," says Li Shuli, the vice director at Epsite, a professional photo gallery. "We want to see creativity and innovation in the pictures."

Perhaps that's why the first prize went to Zhu Qian, a local girl in her twenties.

Zhu focused her lens on the people and the scenes of the southern part of the city, an area still not very developed by urbanization or globalization but one that retains its original local flavors.

Her entry is a combination of four small photographs, each linked by the photographer's particular approach and style.

Xu Haifeng, the second place-getter, puts more stress on content than structure.

Although the Wenchuan earthquake is a subject that has been pictured by many photographers, Xu sees it differently with his camera.

"I arrived in Sichuan Province almost two months after the earthquake, which meant I had lost all the critical moments that are important for a news photographer," Xu says.

"Everyone has his or her own humanistic feeling for the tragedy. My feeling unconsciously gave me another way of looking, at confronting the disaster."

In his black-and-white pictures, the familiar scenes of terror and shock, and the immediate response to the catastrophe do not appear. Instead, the natural landscape is fused with the ruins of buildings, and produces a feeling like an epic silent movie.

Alongside the works of the Chinese winners, the exhibition is also displaying some award-winning pictures from Japanese photographers.

"I hope some of their photographs might enlighten some of our local shutterbugs," Li adds.

These photographs - if they can still be described as photographs in the traditional sense - really challenge the limits of the form.

Here a picture or the subject stretch the meaning of photography.

Like the work of 53-year-old Masao Ono who has created in one photograph a broken book piled with shattered pictures, some covered with silk or wire.

"This is a very interesting photograph of a real object," Li says. "On first sight, you might misunderstand it and think of it as rubbish. But after a careful look at the book, some observers will sense the hidden message in the book as it was intended by Ono."

Another stunning piece is one created by Hiroko Sakurai, a young female photographer, who has made a breakthrough in printing and shooting techniques.

She overlaps two figure images that have been printed on PVC material and then intertwines them.

"I would say that with regard to creativity, new ideas and techniques, the Chinese photographers still have a big gap to catch up on," Li says. "But we are quickly getting closer."

Date: through June 28 (closed on Mondays), 10am-6pm

Venue: Rm 106, Bldg 7, M50, 50 Moganshan Rd

Tel: 6266-9191


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