"...Butler is a consummate artisan and the prints are marvels of tonal graduation and detail."San Jose Mercury News
"Those who view these images... will be by turns amazed and dejected: no one who loves China and her people will ever forget these carefully made photographs, nor the moment in history that they so eloquently record, nor the poignancy that they so quietly reveal."Simon Winchester
"[Butler] has found an exemplary balance between sweeping vistas and formal portraits, between the interiors of humble dwellings and the grandeur of the dam...itself."Photo Eye
"Simply put, Linda's is a never-can-be-duplicated record of the making of the Three Gorges Dam and the subsequent human-made lake that forever has altered...the great and turbulent Yangtze River."Frank van Riper
"The care that has gone into the creation of this volume is nothing short of extraordinary: the 101 black and white plates are so sharp they seem to abolish the distance between subject and viewer. Yangtze Remembered is both a powerful human testament and a landmark of documentary photography."Common Reader
From the Inside Flap
In June 2003, the Three Gorges Dam opened and a reservoir the size of lake Superior began to form, inundating 372 miles of China’s Yangtze River Valley. As 1,500 cities, towns and villages disappeared beneath the dark waters, more than a million people were being moved. Around the reservoir, huge construction projects are still transforming the landscape; mighty dikes, long bridges, apartment towers, and sprawling cities are springing up.
Between 2000 and 2003 Linda Butler made eight trips to the Yangtze to photograph the people, the human environment, and the natural landscape before, during, and after these changes. She spent long weeks in the busy cities and remote villages. Lyrical photographs of dramatic vistas are paired with images showing the ravages visited on this region by coal mining and erosion. Intimate shots of interiors reveal the contents of homes and stores, a table set for an impromptu meal, or a shop counter scattered with seed packets and posters of Mao. Informal portraits of local inhabitants preserve a record of the people as they carry pigs to market, load all their household furnishings onto a boat, or play badminton on a village street.
Accompanying the images is the photographer’s travel commentary, which reads like a dynamic series of short stories. Butler’s words reveal the invisible stories of the common people as they struggle to come to terms with the destruction of their homes and lives. Since ancient times, the Yangtze River itself has been like an unpredictable neighbor—sometimes generous, but at other times wreaking havoc on the lives of others. Perhaps because the river people have lived near such volatility they have developed a profound resilience in the face of adversity.
Yangtze Remembered is both a measured and a passionate book. The powerful images reveal much that we have never seen before and cannot ever see again.