I first became aware of this book when it was selected as one of the "Best Books of 2010" by Photo-eye magazine and I have to admit, it truly is a stunning book, both in regard to the quality of the images and the quality of the printing and design.
Kander is clearly a master photographer who somehow achieves a magical, painterly quality to his photographs (in fact, a friend of mine who saw one of the images at the Hong Kong art fair thought it WAS a painting). The work is exquisite and includes breathtaking remote landscapes, the most beautiful shots of a river dam that I've ever seen and also packed cityscapes that give a true sense of the crowded nature of the Chinese cities. Kander has the rare skill to photograph empty landscapes as well as landscapes that include people and make both equally powerful and evocative. While everything is so perfectly photographed, the overwhelming feeling is a sense of melancholy, loss and despair at the almost unbelievable rate of change this massive and ancient 5,000-year-old country is going through.
The images are all printed fullpage on the right pages of the book while the left pages are blank except for the caption. The cover is a beautiful, grey fabric with a "tipped in" print on it. It really is a very elegantly designed book, both in it's quality and simplicity.
Many photobooks of this nature have the feeling that any photographer who had been in the same location at the same moment could've captured the same images but this isn't one of those. Kander's images are unique, intelligent, timeless and both artfully and technically brilliant. Highly, highly recommended.
I saw an exhibition of some of Kander's work in London earlier this year and was blown away by it. It has the impact of some of those huge paintings of the Romantics. Kander's images are just so beautiful - and the book does a really good job of representing his work. It is a treasure, sold here at a great price, and delivered with the speed of light!
Amazingly Kandar has managed to put together an achingly beautiful body of work of a terrifying and sad subject: the demise of our environment.In this case China's environment. Should be in any serious collectors body of contemporary(soon to be classic) landscapes.
I have seen the show that accompanies this work,and the repro quality of the book by Hatje Kantz is outstanding.
The work is certainly informed by Richard Misrach's work,but this does not detract from it's quality and scope in my opinion. Head and shoulders above any previous Kandar book.