No. 40. China Celebrates 70 Years

Tomorrow, October 1, 2019, marks the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. The Chinese Revolution ended more than a century of foreign domination and many centuries of feudal backwardness. Great revolutions, like the Chinese Revolution, are the result of great awakenings and action by millions of ordinary people, principally the workers and peasants. The founding of the PRC united the country and liberated hundreds of millions from backwardness. Bureaucratic abuses and dictatorial rule by Stalinist rulers–including The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution–resulted in major setbacks for the Chinese Revolution. The volcanic energy of the workers and peasants unleashed by the revolution was squandered and tens of millions starved to death or otherwise suffered following the dictates of the Maoist bureaucracy. China will be celebrating with a weeklong holiday. In spite of all this, China has made world-historic strides forward. This group of 15 photos is an attempt to capture some of the things ordinary Chinese people are doing to celebrate their earth-shaking accomplishments. (Written while on traveling the Yellow Sea)

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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