Event Detail


Shan Shui

Basil Pao
Tuesday, 7 Dec 2010
Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong based photographer Basil Pao who has had a long time working relationship with the RGS President Michael Palin talks to us about images and compiling his new book "A World Without Us". The title of our lecture Shan Shui refers to the ancient Chinese tradition of Mountain Water a school of art personifying the Daoist philosophy of man's insignificance in the grand scheme of nature.

Members and their guests are very welcome to this lecture which is HK$100 for members and HK#150 for non members. There is no need to pre book.

Basil Pau returns to lecture at the RGS HK this time on “Shan Shui", the topic of his most recent book. “Shan Shui", meaning in Chinese mountainwater, reflects the style of the photography in his new book. we will be shown some of the most stunning of the 150 landscape photographs in the book, from every corner of the world, while speaking to the numerous proverbs and the poetic writings in the book.

“Shan shui" is the term generally associated with the school of Chinese landscape paintings executed in a spontaneous inkwash style. “Shan shui" painting usually depicts scenery or natural landscapes, with mountains, rivers and waterfalls often depicted. Using the three compositional principles of Shan shui painting Paths, Threshold and Heart as his structure, Mr Pao assembled a collection of landscapes gathered during more than twenty years of travelling around the world into his latest opus, which forms the basis of the lecture.

The lecture is centred around a presentation of the photographs in the book, but also touches on the history of the “Shan shui" art movement, which first gained prominence during the waning years of the Tang dynasty, and the relevance of the philosophy behind it to our world today and its influence on Mr Pao’s own travels and photography.

Basil Pao began his photographic career in 1980 in Hong Kong after ten years in the United States, where he was art director for recording companies Atlantic and Polygram in New York and Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles. His work during that time included the book for the Monty Python film Life of Brian, where he first worked with Michael Palin. They have since collaborated on ten illustrated books based on the BBC travel series Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe.

He is also the author of Hands, China Revealed and most recently Yi’JingBook of Changes, which accompanied his The Great Walls of China Series exhibition. He has also photographed the limited editions AMAN, Bhutan and AMAN2 for Amanresorts, and OMOrdinary Moments, and CMYK|China. 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.

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