Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nadav Kander, Guest Photographer on Tim Ashley Photography, Documents the Changing Yangtze River

I like to include at least one image with every post. Since my subject for today is from a site that doesn't allow sharing of images, and for good reason (proceeds of use fees go to a non-profit organization serving challenged individuals and communities), I decided to include one of my own.
Potomac River, Modified by Man, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex T Twin Lens Reflex
This shot was from one of my first semi-cohesive projects, about the C&O Canal. The project went no where, but I'm sure I learned a few things from it.
Anyway, my subject today is a series of photographs by Nadav Kander, posted on Tim Ashley's photography site. Nadav photographed the Yangtze River in China, from it's urban terminus in Shanghai to it's source far inland. It is a sublime series of photographs.
(Click Here) to see Nadav's photographs on Tim Ashley's site.
The Yangtze's banks, according to the text, are home to 18% of the world's population. I guess it all comes down to how far from the river you include in that calculation, but in any case, it's an amazingly large number of people. The river has succumbed to the wants and needs of man in many ways, including pollution, bridges, and dams. Mr. Kander's photographs show this, with relatively bleak colors and amazing contrasts in scale of subjects, many times with enormous structures overshadowing human figures. However, the images also show people improvising and adapting to their new world. My favorite image shows people sitting at a large round table under a giant highway overpass. It is entitled "Chongqing IV (Sunday Picnic), Chongqing Municipality."
Nadav shot all of the images on 4x5 film, which lends a nice uniformity to the style.
Even though it was not his objective at the outset, Nadav has produced an important visual narrative on the state of our world, yet without bitterness or despair. In fact, I find the people interacting with the new river encouraging, even though it's true that whole villages of peoples' homes have been lost to the "progress."
I need to re-commit myself to photo projects.