Yangtze Remembered: The River Beneath the Lake Hardcover – Sep 1 2004
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"In Butler's most recent project... she has photographed the 360-mile stretch of the Yangtze River... that is destined to be flooded behind the controversial Three Gorges Dam... A wintry sadness hangs over the landscape and technology that ought to concern anyone who cares about the earth."Steven Litt, Cleveland's Plain Dealer
"Yangtze Remebered: The River Beneath the Lake is no less than a gift to mankind. Butler's powerful images preserve an ancient tale."Center for Photographic Art Newsletter
"Butler's dozens of formally composed images, many printed at full-page size, are a fine-arts photographer's tribute to a great river (and a river culture) undergoing convulsive change."-The San Francisco Chronicle
. . . This is highly recommended for large collections, especially those with readers interested in environmental issues.”Library Journal
From the Inside Flap
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To begin with, many not involved in this kind of work may not appreciate how politically sensitive it is. It took a great deal of courage and savvy for Ms. Butler to create the relationships and the entrees needed to make and exit the country with all those wonderful photographs and interview materials. This is no small feat in its own right. It speaks highly of her and also says alot about the growing openness of China.
Turning to the content, the quality of the photographs - in purely photographic terms - is superb. Lest we forget the power of black and white and the time-tested virtues of powerful composition, lighting and choice of subject matter, this is the place to recall them. Most of these pictures are not merely records - they are good photographs.
The captions and the text are very well done. This book is not a one-sided tirade against dam development. Rather, it is a sensitive, obviously well-informed and balanced perspective on the costs and benefits of these undertakings - both at an individual and more aggregate societal level. It is very clear from this book that there are winners and losers, progress and losses, and the actual long-term net result remains to play-out. This is reality.
There are important lessons of experience to be learned from this text. Let us not forget the scale of this enterprise. China committed something like six billions dollars to resettlement alone for over one million affected people. That a certain percentage of this money got misdirected through corruption and poor implementation is not surprising, and to the Chinese themselves - not acceptable - people are going to jail for their misdeeds. Ms. Butler faces these issues head-on and in a balanced manner. It becomes clear from reading this text that no matter how well-designed a project may be, the quality of the implementation arrangements and the structures in place for assuring their proper functioning are truly critical.
Finally, returning to the book as a production in its own right, the quality of the layout and printing are superb. Very highly recommended.
If America is "addicted to oil" then China is addicted to electricity. In the past 3 years China has approved and is building more new coal fired power plants than the entire United States fleet. You would think that this massive hydroelectric project at Three Gorges Dam would appease China's hunger for new energy, but the reality is it's just a drop in the bucket.
This book does a wonderful job reflecting on what we loose when society progresses.
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