This exhibition presents a dynamic overview of an ancient and rapidly changing society as recorded by twenty-five noted photographers from China and the West. Mundane happenings and quiet rituals are chronicled alongside sweeping political events; crowded, frenetic urban scenes contrast with stark landscape panoramas and serene images of village life. Among the photographers included in the exhibition are internationally renowned artists such as Sebastião Salgado, Eve Arnold, Eliot Porter, and Robert Capa, and prominent Chinese photographers including Xiao-Ming Li, Liu Heung Shing, and Zhang Hai-er. Five well-known photographers who live in California are included in the exhibition: Lois Conner, Reagan Louie, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Jack Birns, and Mark Leong. The pictures in the exhibition reveal aspects of China often overlooked in the accounts of journalists, international business people, and vacation travelers. As Wang Jinsong, one of the photographers in the exhibition, states, "Social Phenomena have been a subject of concern in my work-I try to present people's attitudes and experiences through the details of their surroundings.?Among the people I photographed for the Parents series, the children had moved away and the couples seemed to enjoy their independence. In these pictures you see nothing of youth culture, such as posters of movie stars or pop singers, and rarely did I find portraits of political figures as you commonly see in earlier photographs. Today the old folks prefer to display scrolls of calligraphy, flowers they have grown, or their pet birds. By presenting them among their possessions, I hope to show not only differences of taste and social status but also the ways in which government policies have marked their lives. I try not to emphasize that point but those (in China) who see the work understand the meaning of these surface details." Since diplomatic openings to China increased in the early 1970s, many of the photographers from the West have been able to make repeated visits and long-term studies of the people and environs. Robert Glenn Ketchum notes, "Since the mid-1980s, I have visited China on a regular basis; what I have witnessed over the years is epic. The country has modernized at an unparalleled pace and yet the enigma of China is that some things seem barely to change at all. Its five-thousand-year history continues to emanate from the landscape in spite of recently built freeways, office towers, and apartment blocks." The changes noted by artists from the West are not one-sided. Lois Conner writes of her series on Guilin, "My journey through the Chinese landscape has lasted fifteen years. Although the geographical area that I initially went to explore still holds me firmly in its grip, my perceptions have changed.?I am interested in landscape and how culture can be revealed through it. These photographs describe my relationship to both the mythical and the veritable China." A large-format illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition and includes an essay by Rae Yang, who lived much of the history documented in the exhibition. She was born in Beijing to a respected family, was a member of the Red Guards during Mao's Cultural Revolution, and finally emigrated to the United States.