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Wendy Watriss, co-director of Fotofest, really digs Chinese photography. In 2008, Fotofest set up camp in China reaching out for the sakes of diversity, discovery and commerce.

Today, Fotofest announced its International Discoveries II. They include Alejandro Cartagena, Wei Bi, Minstrel Kuik Ching Chieh, Christine Laptuta, Rizwan Mirza, Takeshi Shikama, Kurt Tong, MiMi Youn, and Vee Speers (although Peter Marshall points out Speers isn’t that “new”).

The most comprehensive information available remains the Fotofest Press Release (PDF)

The most tantalising prospect for me personally is Wei Bi. Partly because of his project and partly because there’s nothing out on the web about him.

I skanked this screenshot of the Fotofest website. Sorry FF!

Wei Bi, Untitled, 2008

Wei Bi, Untitled, 2008

Here’s the blurb: “Issues of justice are embedded in Chinese artist Wei Bi’s re-staging of his 80–day experience in a Chinese prison — a sentence received for making a photograph. His large black and white photographs are minimal, showing a surreal relationship between near expressionless guards and disoriented prisoners. Despite the constructed nature of his work, Mr. Wei insists his “photography is not aimed to reveal, but to record, recording the existence of my life.” Wei Bi’s work was “discovered” at the Guangzhou 2009 Photo Biennial in Guangzhou, China.

How can we not be drawn to this work? He was imprisoned for his photography! Potentially, it is a narrative against adversity in which creativity triumphs.

If anyone reading this makes it to the exhibition please get in touch and tell me what you think of Bi’s prison photographs.


prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com


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