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Superbly detailed visual overview of the upcoming Superpower
on 5 April 2013
Tom Carter has captured a superb overview of China and the SARs. In most of the inspiring 800+ photos, we bypass the usual tourist haunts and focus instead on the locals. With distinct sections for each region, the format supports the idea that China - with its rich and colourful contrasts - is more of a `civilisation' than a country.
What is most incredible about the collection is that the photos were taken with a totally inappropriate and amateur piece of kit - a 4-megapixel Olympus C-4000. This, in itself, challenges the pretentious notion that a photographer-is-only-as-good-as-their-equipment.
It may also be a clue as to how the photographer managed to capture the country in such intimate and natural detail. Looking like a tourist, as opposed to a professional photographer, has clearly resulted in better access and increased chances of encouraging his subjects to relax. Plus, I understand he uses very little post-processing.
Carter does not shy away from featuring soot-faced miners, beggars and prostitutes, though he errs towards the positive and the beautiful. Some may believe this to be unrepresentative of a country beset with environmental concerns, corruption and ongoing poverty. Others, however, would be fair to argue that the spotlight is far too often placed upon the negative, especially by Westerners and sometimes quite heavy-handedly.
`A Portrait' makes a refreshing effort to redress the balance, whilst still giving a fair overview of what is a vast, complicated and very diverse land.