Thursday, January 3, 2013

China: Portrait of a People {Book Review}

China is made up of 33 distinct regions populated by 56 ethnic groups. Over a period of two years, American photojournalist Tom Carter visited them all, with just a backpack and a simple camera. This little book is a visual tribute to the People's Republic of China, with an ardent emphasis on the people.

On a limited budget, and with just a backpack and a digital camera, Carter has visited more than one-third of all the cities and villages in China, encountering 56 different ethnic minorities, each with their own distinct languages, customs and lifestyles, learning everything he can about these people, their society, and their way of life.

Tom Carter's groundbreaking book, China: A Portrait of a People, now in its second printing, is a hefty 638 pages and contains over 800 color photos, all taken with a singular goal: to portray China to the West candidly, fairly and objectively. Despite increased tourism and rampant foreign investment, the cultural distance between China and the West remains as vast as the oceans that separate them. This book is a dazzling visual tribute to the people of China. The book includes a Forward by Anchee Min who says, "Tom Carter is an extraordinary photographer whose powerful work captures the heart and soul of the Chinese people."

(Tom Carter sharing his digital photos with children in Tibet)

This book is quite a thick book with a nice quality and amazing photos taken from Tom Carter's travels. It comes as a softcover with jacket, full color and has maps of each province.  It is unlike any other travel book or photo book. Each chapter is separated into different provinces with photos in that section. I am really amazed with Tom carter's journey and is able to share with us his experiences.

I think that traveling in China would be quite fascinating. I've only been to Hong Kong once when I was about 8 years old, but don't remember much. Sometimes it's a little scary depending which part of town you go to. This reminds me of my sister and her husband's travels to China a few years back and they have done backpacking for a few weeks. She mentioned that it was tough, especially for beginners like herself.  I'm going to pass on this book to her as a gift. I'm sure she'll find it interesting.


Travel photographer Tom Carter (1973) was born and raised in the City of San Francisco and graduated with a degree in Political Science from the American University in Washington, D.C. Following a political career with a number of high-profile state and national campaigns, Tom decided to "peek over the fence" and subsequently spent 18 months backpacking down the length of Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Tom later spent one year in Japan, one year in India, and four years in the People's Republic of China, traveling extensively throughout the country's 33 provinces and autonomous regions. The result was his first book, CHINA: Portrait of a People, hailed as the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author.

WHERE TO BUY: The book is available at blacksmithbooks.com and Amazon.com

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange of my review of this post. I was also provided info from the PR firm/Company to share. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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