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China: Portrait of a People

Photojournalist Tom Carter spent two years capturing China’s people and their lives through his camera lenses.

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In China: Portrait of a People, Tom Carter shows us that there are actually dozens of Chinas.

The American photojournalist spent two years traveling 35,000 miles through every province of China by bus, boat, train, mule, motorcycle, and on foot.

What he found is a country with dramatic regional differences. There are 56 major ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs. The climate ranges from the bitter cold northeast – near North Korea and Siberia – to tropical areas adjacent to Vietnam.

In this softcover book (900 photos, fitted into a compact 6” by 6 “ format), each province has its own chapter with a brief introduction. Some describe the region’s history, others tell the first-person story of a local resident, and yet others recount the author’s travel adventures.

Here’s what Carter writes of his winter visit to Heilongjiang Province, near Siberia: “I never in my life felt colder,” he says, adding that two elderly women, seeing him shaking uncontrollably on a bus, wrapped him in their coats.

Some photo captions are just a couple of words, others offer more details. For example, a photo of a smiling woman in Anhui Province says, “Poultry farmer slits a chicken’s throat, and has fun while doing it. The blood is saved, left to coagulate, and eaten as a nutritious snack.”

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