Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Photos of the dark side of China's economic growth


photos by Lu Guang from China Hush

Lu Guang is a freelance Chinese documentary photographer who has produced some of the most remarkable and distressing photos I have seen. (you can see a selection of his photos here)

His photos show the dark side of the Chinese economic miracle, that is the human and environmental consequences of a booming economy. The photos are from the rural and industrial heartland of China, a landscape rarely seen by Westerners.

Orville Schell has written a piece in the latest New York Review of Books about Lu Guang's photos, pointing out that the Chinese authorities are so fearful of the power of his images that his work is censored and he is forced to work under an alias. Lu Guang was recently in the USA to receive a photographic award which recognizes photographers for their deep commitment to documenting the human condition. Schell concludes with this:
Lu’s photos can do no more than hint at the unseeable, phantasmagoric, but even more menacing threat of climate change that is quietly and ineluctably stealing over the world.
Lu Guang's photos are a salutatory reminder that this state's prosperity, which is built on the supply of massive amounts of iron ore and other natural resources to feed China's rapid economic and industrial growth, comes at an immense cost in human suffering and environmental degradation in China.

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