Zhang Kechun (张克纯): Yellow River series, 2011
The Yellow River (黄河) is often called the cradle of Chinese civilization as its basin - specifically, the Wei River Valley - was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilizations and the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding fields has also earned it the unenviable names “China’s Sorrow” and “Scourge of the Sons of Han”.
Nevertheless Zhang Kechun seems to question what this sacred river represents nowadays: is it really a foster-mother? A root? Or a mere river that became iconic thanks to popular culture? Zhang unveils the Yellow River’s beauty and contradictions, its contrasts, its colours, its rapids, its stillness, its solemnity, but also its danger for a single flood would destroy countless crops and cause thousands of casualties. In that sense, Zhang’s photos are an outcry over the disruptions in the natural environment, which is constantly facing the “torrent of modernization” as he says.
Full series (41 photos) here