Júlio de Matos Photography




It was like a blind date. I was now part of a small photographers group, I had to live for two weeks, and an itinerary I really knew nothing about.

I had been given a small booklet with names, dates and hours. During that time period I had very limited options to be in control of my life. Looking back I have mixed positive and negative feelings about the whole thing.

If it was today I would reflect well before accepting the seductive Chinese Photographers Association invitation to participate on the “Four Seasons in Xinjiang” photo creation event. It seemed fair that CPA wanted some photographic images in exchange for a two weeks tour of a part of China’s Xinjiang Province. The concept was Xinjiang through the eyes of both Chinese and foreign photographers. According to our exchange of emails I had been told that “our project is to shot the autumn xinjiang, so we have to choose the best time to shot there.”

So I expect to have the plenty of opportunity to photograph outdoors, namely landscapes. But the opposite happened, the program had, in my understanding, too many cultural and economic activities visits and photo shootings. Some visits gave me an understanding of Xinjiang’s economy and energy importance. Other, by all means, were not at all interesting. But no one asked my opinion, before or after.

Sometimes our caravan was composed by more than 5 veicules. Always escorted by a police jeep, we high speed traveled across East Xinjiang in two small army buses, completely separating the two groups of photographers in the tour. One Chinese and the other multi-national. My group was very heterogenic, from photo-clubs, to commercial, and photo organizations/associations, …. None truly from the photography fine art world. I believe I had been invited in the sequence of my Beijing’s “Fading Hutongs” project in progress. In the bus I was in, there was also some people from the organization and local media, doing a TV coverage.

The first stop was at Changi Club - Morning, September 26th 2006. (To be continued)

Júlio de Matos
July, 11th 2009

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