The Greater China Grant

Encouraging Photography In The Greater China Region

Past Winner

Small Towns and Ancient Villages: a Bridge Between Three Regions

Alanna Yee - Shanghai, China

This project uses the bridge as the underlying theme to connect several regions of China and to explore the similarities and diversity of small towns and ancient villages in these areas.

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I will focus on three regions:

1. the Jiangnan region surrounding Shanghai, and famous for its water towns built along canals. Since these towns sprang up along a network of waterways to facilitate trade, many bridges span these waterways to connect parts of town.

2. the Guilin/Yangshuo and Sanjiang region in Guangxi. The small towns in the Guilin and Yangshuo region are in an area with many rivers and streams, and the wind and rain bridges of the Dong minority in Sanjiang, made entirely of wood and without any nails, are a spectacular sight to behold.

3. the small village outposts in Yunnan on the ancient Tea Horse Road. The bridges in these villages should be interesting. The small towns and villages I will explore in Yunnan are situated on the ancient Tea Horse Road where, historically, the emphasis was more on overland travel and connections...so what will the bridges look like and how are they used?

I will be using photography as a means to explore the characteristics of these regions and their culture through their architecture, landscapes, cuisine...and of course, bridges!

Since moving to China, my understanding of the Chinese culture has been enriched by my travels and my daily interactions. I have come to appreciate the regional similarities and the diversity that makes up the fabric of the Chinese culture. I enjoy exploring the small towns and villages. It feels like taking a step back in time to ancient China. Even so, today people in some small villages still use very traditional tools and lead a very traditional lifestyle.

I am fascinated by Chinese architecture. I think it is very beautiful and artistic. I like to look at architecture across regions, and see how local aesthetic sensibilities as well as the landscape influence architectural styles.

I am an amateur photographer whose photography skills have developed as I have traveled and used photography to record my journeys and share my stories with others. For me, a good photograph is one that is shared, one that can be appreciated and admired by many. And one that tells a story about a place or time. This grant would help me achieve my dream of publishing a book to showcase my work on this project, as well as to cover travel and related expenses to these places.

Enclosed with this application is a selection of photographs I have taken in some of the water towns surrounding Shanghai. Thank you for considering my application.



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