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A photographer with insight….

September 17, 2008

or an insightful photographer. No matter which way you choose to describe him, China based photojournalist Tom Carter has incredible talent. Simply put, he connects with people. Through his camera he finds peoples hearts and souls and delivers striking portraits.  On the book front, Tom has recently published , “China: Portrait of A People”. A book that has 600 pages of portraits, colour, stories and emotions. A book that took Tom two years to compile and most of this was done while travelling across China. “China: Portrait of a People” is also the first travel portrait photography book produced by a non-Chinese. You can well imagine the bureaucratic nightmare he had to endure. Thankfully he didn’t quit. Also, this book is on my Christmas list (signs of hope).

His video trailer about the book captures what I can’t express with words.

Recently I asked Tom what his favourite shot was. Of course it was not an easy question to answer. He told me that he had two shots. Both with stories: Zengchong village in Guizhou -because of the picturesque setting, which he said made the picture easy to be pretty; the other Ningxia -where he came upon 100 unemployed labourers standing on a street corner waiting – for work to come along. The labourers had never met a foreigner before and he made their day. As Tom said “Each of their faces tells a story”.

I guess that could be said about all his portraits. My favourite one is the coalminer from Shanxi. His life is worn on his face: blackened with coal.

The pace of China’s growth is well known across the globe. It’s such a dynamic country but the volume of its dynamism isn’t really captured enough in the media.  Overvisited hot tourist spots like Beijing, the Great Wall, Shanghai’s skyline, Macau and Hong Kong appear to be the flavour of the year. And very little else. Yet it’s the other spots, the other places hidden out in the provinces that truly give you the mood and feel of the country. If you have an interest in China or you know of someone who does, I recommend you check out Tom’s book.

Caffeinated Traveller


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