A question of preserving traditions – China, Dimen, Old Way, New Path, 2010
On a wooden platform in the middle of the village, dozens of young women gather, dressed in intricately embroidered aprons and jackets — the traditional costume of the Dong, one of the many ethnic minority groups of southwestern China. Nearby, a large group of villagers huddles around a bonfire. Everyone in Dimen, this tiny town about 400 miles northwest of Hong Kong, is preparing to celebrate the inscription of the Grand Song of the Dong onto UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. The singers join hands and launch into an excerpt from a Dong opera. The Dong people sing love songs, drinking songs, and work songs; “gate-barring songs” to greet visitors while assessing their intentions; and Grand Songs, epic historical ballads passed down orally from song masters to young disciples. In other respects as well, the people of Dimen, one of 15 Dong villages in Guizhou province, still practice a way of life that dates back to the 13th century. They build their houses and bridges with wooden pegs and posts. They use ancient, integrated farming methods, raising rice and carp together in thousands of terraced ponds cut into the mountainside. The women weave and dye their own cloth, including a glossy black fabric they buff with boiled cow skin and egg whites. Text by Jaime Gross
Daniele Mattioli is an Italian photographer based in Shanghai. He also travels frequently for his work, with arrives at him both through frequent commissions and his own artistic endeavor. Mattioli works between editorial and corporate realms. Mattioli, as a follower of change, creates images that are responsive and coordinatively aligned to social vectors. The selection of his subject matter – between place and person – is photojournalistic. Mattioli’s work is distinctly clean and professional. In China, he produces dramatic images of streetscapes, often weaving a guerrilla portraiture of unassuming subjects into a streetscape. He presents his editorial work in series. Each sequence clusters in place, which defines the presentation of the subject matter. By presented a portfolio of images, rather than a select, single representative of each shoot, he allows the individual’s place in their community, as well as their wayward personalities, give shape to the image. An aesthetic switch-a-roo occurred in his street work in China. He halted the production of posed portraits. Eschewing such conventions at least in the specific practice of shooting on the block, one that he followed in Italy and Japan, for example, he abandoned posing. Between his editorial and commercial work, the main distinction comes in the amount of light he allows in. He is quite stingy with the stimulus in his editorial work. In a commercial setting, you could lounge on a divan and eat little lightbulb-grapes off the stem, he gives you so much wondrous information.