Local exhibition boasts images from China

The stunning photography of a trip to China is now on display at the Allen Gallery in Alton. Taken by photography students on a trip earlier this year, the exhibition will be accessible from 10am - 4.30pm, every Tuesday to Saturday until the May half term.

The trip was packed full of culture as our Photography students captured the asian way of life. A report by Amanda Bollini, Head of Creative Visual Arts, describes the trip:

"For six days, 26 staff and students visited Beijing. Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by our local guides Lotus and Richard before being whisked off to Tiananmen Square. The locals were fascinated by us and many of us were asked to pose for photographs. Ironic really as our main purpose for going was to take photos of a different culture!

We moved onto the Forbidden City. This was immense with many beautiful buildings and a long history, told proudly by Lotus. The students were respectful and enjoyed the photographic opportunities for architecture and people. Day two was one of the highlights of the tour, climbing the Great Wall of China. The challenge was on to reach the great heights to obtain the best view from the wall. The views were guarded by the smog, but in time this lifted slightly to reveal the amazing landscape. Most of us struggled with the extreme angle of the steps, holding onto the handrails for safety and comfort. We would stop to catch breath whilst taking in the view and satisfaction of being on one of the wonders of the world. Only the fittest made it to the top and took some of the best photos of the day. 

The following day we travelled to the World Heritage Site of Caundixia Village. A solitary village, dating back to the Ming period. Parts of the village were run down, but full of character and great for photos. The village, surrounded by mountains, stands on the northern gentle slope of the hills and is built in harmony with the terrain of the mountains. Steeped in history, our guide explained there were many quadrangle dwellings and a few courtyards with houses on three sides. The houses had delicate gate piers as well as distinctive screen walls and along with the stone, wood and brick carvings, reflected the ancient Chinese culture. 

A few brave souls on the morning of the final full day made their way to the local park to witness Tai chi. It was 8am and the park was full to the brim! Ballroom dancing, gymnastics, Tai chi and speed skating were all taking place; the atmosphere was electric and energetic. 

One of the long awaited highlights of the trip was the planned rickshaw rides around the Hutongs. Two abreast, we embarked on a pleasurable way to see the hutongs, our drivers in competition with one another, showing off their strength in being able to transport us, plus camera bags, at great speed! 

During our trip we requested a visit to the famed ‘798 Art Zone’. A disused and converted electronics factory built by the East Germans in the 1950’s, 798 Art District is Beijing’s leading concentration of contemporary art galleries. This was an ideal opportunity to take in and respect unconventional and fashionable art. This bustling area full of vibrant colours, sculptures on a large scale, contemporary Chinese art and industrial factory buildings all provoked an eclectic mix of 20th and 21st Century culture."