Professional and amateur photographers from 42 countries and regions poured into Pingyao, an ancient city in northern Shanxi Province, as a large-scale photography festival kicked off Monday. More than 20,000 photos by over 2,000 Chinese and foreign photographers will be displayed in 419 shows during the seven-day Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP), according to the festival\'s organizer. \"PIP has become a magnet for international photographers to gather 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. The event, which is in its eleventh year, will feature a photo show reviewing the work of Zhu Xianmin, a renowned documentary photographer in China. As of this year, holding shows in honor of influential Chinese photographers will become a regular practice, said Zhang Guotian, the festival\'s art director. For Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, PIP has \"further promoted its international fame,\" said Zhang Pu, a government official with the city of Jinzhong, which administers to Pingyao. From 2001 to 2010, PIP attracted more than 16,000 Chinese and foreign photographers and over 3 million visitors, and has displayed 120,000 pictures, according to figures from the Pingyao government.