When South Florida Chapter member Nancy Brown, who has been a professional photographer for three decades, took her first trip to China, she was immediately enthralled.
“When I stepped off the plane on my first visit,” she explains, “I began my photographic love affair with China and its people.”
Five years and six additional trips later, Nancy has released a 289-page large-sized coffee table photography book, “Simply China”. In the book’s introduction, which contains text in both Chinese and English, Nancy explains how the deep kindness of the Chinese people, their pervasive warmth to a stranger in their midst, and the glorious beauty of China’s landscape, architecture, and art continues to move her.
Sunrise over 17th Century water town, Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu Province. © Nancy Brown
She also explains why, with the exception of the Forbidden City, she tends to head for the rural areas – what she calls “the real China” – where not many non-Chinese go.
Nancy comments, “It is heaven for me to wander around villages and remote areas of China with my cameras around my neck. Making the images in this book was pure joy, and I hope that those who see them feel the beauty and spirit of China as I do.”
The book is divided into seven sections: The Forbidden City, Inner Mongolia (the grasslands of China), Guangxi, West Sichuan, Zhouzhuang, Tibet, and Qinghai Province. Its numerous captivating images, ranging from a snowfall at The Great Wall, to yurts in the grasslands, to monks at a remote monastery, to wild Mongolian horses, powerfully reveal the beauty the photographer sees.
Buddhist Monk strolls with prayer beads in Lhasa, Tibet. © Nancy Brown
Nancy’s first trip to China was in 2004 when the South Florida chapter, along with student’s from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, were invited to attend the Duyun International Photography Exhibition in Guizhou Province, China. The chapter sent a selection of photographic prints that were among the thousands displayed at dozens of venues around the city. Between opening ceremonies and banquets, Nancy says she was first introduced to the Chinese people during photographic outings sponsored by the Chinese Photographers Association (CPA).
She quickly made friends within the CPA, which led to invitations to judge at other photography festivals, lecture at a photography trade school, and to specially designed trips to locations in China off the tourist track. Nancy reports that in remote Inner Mongolia, and again in the western Tibetan homelands of Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces, she would go nearly two weeks without seeing another Western face.
The Great Wall near Beijing after rare October snow fall. © Nancy Brown
Her relationships within China culminated in 2010 when she met in Beijing with the China Nationality Art Photographic Publishing House, which was interested in publishing a high quality coffee table book of photographs with a Western point of view. The book is also being distributed in China.
Nancy Brown shares photographs and makes friends with early morning exercise group, Yueqing, Zhejiang Province. © Tom Salyer
Nancy Brown has been a commercial photographer for over thirty years, specializing in lifestyle and beauty images for advertising agencies, magazines, design firms, book publishers, and pharmaceutical agencies. After working out of her New York studio for thirty years, she now works from Boca Raton, Florida. Nancy has had five photography books published and was made a Nikon Legend in 2001. Getty Images is her stock agency. China has become her favorite beauty subject.