"China Revealed: Portrait of the Rising Dragon"
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm We are delighted to welcome again internationally celebrated photographer and writer Basil Pao, for a return visit following his sellout lecture two years ago. Mr. Pao is famous worldwide as the photographer of all of Michael Palin's recent books, including Sahara. In this lecture, "China Revealed: Portrait of the Rising Dragon", Mr. Pao describes his first solo voyage, in which he has made a personal and photographic pilgrimage through every province and region of China. China, a country of 1.3 billion people in the grip of an industrial revolution absorbing a large part of the world's resources, was until relatively recently a closed book to most, even if they had visited the large coastal cities. With this vast country now completely open to travel, Mr. Pao determined to travel through every province of China, recording history and landscape, people and places, to give a comprehensive snapshot of China today. The result is a record of a captivating and extraordinary journey of discovery through one of the most fascinating nations on earth. Basil Pao is uniquely positioned to offer an intimate portrait of every corner of China to the outside world as the depth and quality of his photographs tell more than any thousand words. By turns lyrical and exquisite, stark and beautiful, his informative lecture, illustrated throughout by his powerful photographs, shows a country in transition. He portrays a country whose four thousand years of cultural history are being rediscovered even as they are being destroyed. Also a China where new urban wealth and rural poverty coexist uneasily, as the new regime continues to tackle the legacy of corruption and anarchy of the cultural revolution and the repression in its aftermath. Mr. Pao's journey, the most important and ambitious photographic portrait of China to date, fulfils Mr. Pao's original intention, the ancient Chinese saying, "contemplating orchids from a galloping horse". As a lecture, "China Revealed: Portrait of the Rising Dragon", is a visually stunning record of China, of interest to Royal Geographical Society members interested in any of China, travel or photography. Basil Pao began his photographic career in 1980, on his return to Hong Kong after ten years in the United States, where he was art director for recording companies such as Atlantic and Polygram in New York, and Warner Brothers in Los Angeles. His design work during this period included the book for the Monty Python film Life of Brian, where he first worked with Michael Palin. They have since collaborated on nine books including those based on the journeys of Pole to Pole, Full Circle and Hemingway Adventure. Their most recent work has been Sahara and Himalaya. Mr. Pao's travel essays and other works, including photographs for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor and Little Buddha, have appeared in numerous books and magazines internationally, and his photographic exhibitions, Glimpses of Silence and The Last Emperor Collection, have travelled widely in Asia and Europe. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.