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Photographer Travels 35,000 Miles Across China, Takes 10,000 Portraits

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American photographer Tom Carter backpacked across all 33 provinces of China over a period of two years. He covered approximately 35,000 miles, interacted with 56 diverse cultures and was able to shoot over 10,000 portraits of the Chinese people he met.

Significantly, Carter did not embark on this project with high-level camera equipment. In fact, all he had with him on this ‘journey-of-a-lifetime’ was a 4-megapixel point-and-shoot.

Despite the ‘limitations’ of his photo-taking device, Carter made it a point to focus on befriending the people he met, and mentioned that in spite of missing out on “a lot of candid shots that required rapid shutter release, low-light abilities or a telephoto lens,” his simple camera forced him to “get up close and personal” with his subjects. As such, in an ironic way, his project benefited from the initial technological limitations.

Over the two years, Carter travelled by all available means of transportation in China: bus, boat, mule, motorcycle, train and of course, on foot. Often, he would stay at really budget locations that cost him between US$1-US$3 a night.

Having been able to capture images of a variety of minority cultures in China that we rarely lay eyes on in mainstream media, Carter hopes that his portraits will help to dispel notions that Chinese people are homogenous in culture and identity, because “China is not just one place, one people, but 33 distinct regions populated by 56 different ethnicities, each with their own languages, customs and lifestyles.”


[via, images via Tom Carter]
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