Formless:The 2014 Three Shadows Photography Award Exhibition

Message from the Three Shadows Founders




We have chosen the title "Formless" for its Buddhist meaning. Chapter 2 of The Compendium of the Purpose of Mahayana talks about formlessness, and explains it in two ways. First, principles clarity names and reject myriad forms; this is called formlessness. Second, forms can be explained in terms of nirvana. The way of nirvana is distant from forms, and Chapter 30 of the Mahayana Mahaparinivana Sutra names them as color, sound, fragrance, taste, touch,life,desire,evil,male,and female,Formlessness is attained when all of them are finally banished.

Photography captures the forms of everything in this world. Today, we live in a limitless world, and we have fallen in love with forms, including our own. Buddhism's "formlessness as essence" implies that when surrounded by all forms, you must separate yourself from all forms. The absence of form can be understood as nothingness, which also encompasses everything in the universe, with its infinite possibilities.

The practice of photography requires, as a Zen master said, "Sell-contemplation, self-renewal,self-isolation, and self-cultivation.'

This is the sixth edition of the Three Shadows Photography Award, and we would like to thank the artists for their enthusiastic participation.Through your work, we have seen the limitless potential of photographic creativity. We finally selected 28 photographers fro a total of 580 entrants. In reviewing everyone’s work,each person comes from a different place, expressing ideas in amazingly diverse ways, but each captures a specific present. This was one of the primary reasons for launching the Award. 

Every year, we invite experts from around the world to serve as judges, ensuring that the Three Shadows Photography Award maintains academic excellence at an international level and provides young photographers with a platform for their work. This year's panel is composed of Candida Hofer (artist Germany. Arthur Ollman, (photographer, professor at the San Diego State University, chairman of the board the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography,United States) , Tokihiro Sato , (photographer and professor at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Japan, Liu Zheng (photographer, China) and RongRong (photographer and founder of Thee Shadows Photography Art Center, China).

Finally we would like to thank Shiseido, a long-term supporter of the award, the Goethe-Institut Beijing, the Japanese Cultural Center, the Cultural Affairs Office of the Embassy of the United States,and everyone who has helped to make this year's Award such a success.