The Pingyao International Photography Festival kicked off on Sept 19 in the ancient section of the city of Pingyao in Shanxi province. Photographers from 42 countries and regions, professional and amateur, poured into the ancient city, turning it into a large, indoor and open-air photo gallery. More than 20,000 photos by more than 2,000 Chinese and foreign photographers will be displayed in 419 shows during the seven-day photo carnival. The festival serves as \"a magnet for international photographers to discuss new directions and new ideas with their Chinese counterparts\", said Susan Dooley, chairperson of the art department of Nassau Community College in the United States. In addition, a number of folk activities featuring local cultures, including a traditional wedding and opera, have also been staged in conjunction with the festival to promote the tourism industry of Pingyao. The festival was established in 2001 in the ancient city of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The festival has become one of the world\'s largest photo exhibitions and attracts thousands of well-known photographers from all over the world.