City of Ice
This is a reworking of my visit to Harbin in North China 12 years ago which featured in The Association of Photographer's Image magaine and exhibited at Dimbola Lodge and Rivington Gallery.
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is held every year in the winter deep freeze of China's most northern city. Its based on an old tradition of fishermen creating ice lanterns by freezing the outside of buckets of water and then putting candles inside. Today its on a bigger scale. The blocks are cut from the frozen Songhua river with chainsaws and filled with gelled flourescent tubes. Ice and snow art and architecture takes over the whole city and there are main attractions in designated parks.
The Expo was a surreal experience with frantic Chinese techno booming out from multicoloured ice buildings. It was very cold, dipping to -35 at night. I found one cafe with no heating, bird size stools to perch on and a floor that had sunk half a meter in the middle. My face turned yellow and I was revived by locals with powerful Baijui and Kareoke. In 5 days I saw just one westerner who was working in the local helicopter factory. I'd thoroughly recommend a visit.
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