A View from Half a
Five Texas photographers, including UTSA
President Ricardo Romo, traveled to Shanghai last
semester to display their work and unveil a view of
Texas that many from the country have never seen.
At the invitation of the China Photographers Association,
Peter Brown, Al Rendon, Joel Salcido, Ansen
Seale and Romo showed their photographs of ranches,
vaqueros and rodeos in the exhibit Infinite Horizon: Visions
The exhibit was on display at the 14th annual China
International Photographic Art Exhibition.
"The five photographers featured in this exhibit have
an eye for South Texas," said Curator Arturo Infante
Almeida, UTSA art specialist. "With patience and understanding,
they have been able to capture small-town-Texas in their lenses like nobody else. Their photos are
poetic, and they will offer unique insight to all who see
them on display."
Donald Lien, director of the UTSA Confucius Institute,
facilitated the trip and said Texas is largely unknown
to the Chinese, and similarly, China is a mystery
"This trip to China was meant to improve communications
and understanding between Chinese and
Americans," he said. "One way to do that is to send photographers.
Photos can tell us so much."
Following the exhibit, the five spent two days taking
photographs of the region. The group’s itinerary included
a brief stop in Shanghai before heading to Lishui
City. They spent a half-day-in the rural town of Dhu Rong,
where a village festival was underway, complete with
outdoor theater and a performance of Chinese opera.
"I looked at the complexities of Chinese culture and
society," said Romo. "It’s an enormous country—80 percent
rural—and we were all fascinated by the rural aspects.
People go to Beijing and Shanghai. We went to a
small town and got to see a play that’s been performed
for hundreds of years. I like to look at small communities
and how they unite and celebrate together."
The trip also took the Texas photographers to the
Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen
Square and the town of Wenzhou.
They returned with gripping images from the countryside—
and the people—that they displayed at UTSA’s
Institute of Texan Cultures through May.
"Many Chinese are familiar with American customs
and the American way of life, but the Texas culture is
foreign to them," said Lien. "This exhibit and cultural
exchange connected the two communities, bringing
each culture to the heart of the other."