This is the best kept most popular photographic function it seems. Every year in an old city called pingyao here in china (next to beijing) people from all over the world come to see all things photography. Then entire old section of the town is turned into one massive exhibition. Two years ago when I was there I watched a live presentation by James Nachewey called "the passion of Allah" and also met Reni Burri, William Bestch (a really great guy and photographer), and dozens of other pro photographers not to mention talking to photo enthusiasts from all over the globe. Also a Marilyn Monroe exhibition of photos taken by Eve Arnold, the real prints and contact sheets too, not copies. Others that I remember were Martine Franck, Marc Riboud, Eudene Disderi, Patrick Zachmann, Zeng Nian, Lise Sarfati, Stuart Franklin, and so many others. Last year Koffi Annan was there to see the sights, and a exhibition by Robert Pledge and I think David LaChapelle too. This year the person im looking forward to seeing is Robert Frank, in the flesh. He will be giving a seminar on photography and also have a exhibition.
Every year in Pingyao the biggest and smallest photo groups put on exhibitions including Magnum, Black Star, The associated press, National Geographic, and just about every other name around. Also if wandering around for a week in an old Chinese city looking at exhibitions doesn't float your boat, industry wide equipment demonstrations are held.
The event happens september 19-26th. I will be there from the 13th till the 20 something holding an exhibition as well. If any of you out there just happen to be there, send me a note and I will give you my phone number and we can hook up.
Here is the website: www.pip.org.cn/pysy1.aspx