No. 48 Xiamen Vignets

These vignettes of Xiamen, China, is, in many ways, the story of China today. From a relatively sleepy backwater port, Xiamen is risen to become one of the major port cities in the world. The Port of Xiamen is an important deep-water port located on Xiamen Island, the adjacent mainland coast, and along the estuary of the Jiulongjiang River in southern Fujian, China. It is one of the main world trade ports (“trunk line port”) in the Asia-Pacific region. It is ranked the 8th-largest container port in China and ranks 17th in the world. It is the 4th port in China with the capacity to handle 6th-generation large container vessels. Naturally, as its commercial role has increased so has its importance as a Naval center. A modern suspension bridge connects the island to the city itself on the mainland.

The growth of the city has exploded in recent years as its importance to the world marketplace has grown. High rise apartment buildings, modern hotels, a large downtown pedestrian mall, and green spaces make it a bustling modern city. The pedestrian mall attracts hundreds, if not thousands, of young people with money to spend nightly. A subway line with 24 stations opened in 2017; four more lines are under construction. The city is situated over tough bedrock, so only recently has the technology become available to carve underground rail tunnels. Vehicular traffic is quite congested. Interestingly, vast beds of flowers line the high-speed highways. Among the highlights of the city are White Ibis (Bailuzhou) Park and the Putuo Buddhist Temple.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, 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. 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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