Humanity Photo Awards: A World Heritage

Published date: 2000-11-15    Clicks: 267

Folklore photography as a record of the historical and cultural development of a certain ethnic group has made great contributions to human history and the preservation of culture. It took a Chinese man over a decade to realize, and only after he had took nearly 200,000 photos of almost all Chinese ethnic groups, that folklore photography is a cause that requires the collective efforts of millions upon millions of people. Thus the “Humanity Photo Awards” was first initiated in the year 1998 to encourage photographers, both professional and amateur, from all over the world to present pictures that show care for tradition and culture.

The name of HPA emphasizes the documental function of folklore photography. Photography is an irreplaceable method in preserving ethnic culture as it records and represents cultural activities faithfully and directly. And it can make moments become eternal. HPA 1998 and 2000 presented exciting ethnic activities in great abundance, and the cultural values of which led up to meaningful retrospections.

HPA is organized by China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA), a NGO founded six years ago with its cultural mission as to “Record Cultural heritage for salvation, spread Chinese culture; Integrate Chinese culture with the multi cultures of the world; Promote the record, dissemination, sharing of global multi cultures, and enhance the communication and understanding of mankind”. The association praises its members for their efforts in preserving Chinese folklore culture as a source of human creativity in the 21th century and a longer future.

Starting from the HPA1998, CFPA began to call upon all responsible men from all over the world to pick up their cameras and take part in preserving the endangered folklore culture. As UNESCO former deputy director general Danielle Nick affirms, “What you are doing is exactly a mission of UNESCO”. From the second Photo Awards on, UNESCO joined as co-organizer to remind the world of cultural diversity and cultural heritage in old traditions.

Mr. Shen Che, president of the CFPA, is an experienced folklore photographer. He used to travel alone for twenty years in search of ethnic culture. From the untraversed Dulong River Gorge in Yunnan to the freezing forests in Northeast China, his travel led him to the Drung people, the Nanai people and the Orochens. The CFPA developed its photo gallery on the basis of Mr. Chen’s photos and has grown to contain over 200,000 pictures presenting the folklore culture of not only the 56 ethnicities in China, but also of ethnicities from dozens of other nations in the world including Japan, India, Peru, Holland, Swiss, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, etc. Mr. Shen said, I’ve been to the Yao Mountain several times and took pictures of a dozen of Yao collateral series; yet, the Yao nationality is composed of more than 80 collateral series, and that’s where the HPA original purpose lays. The HPA has crashed the photographers’ monopoly and made folklore photography a new kind of world language with which different countries and ethnicities conduct cultural communications with each other.

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