A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
We continue on with our armchair adventures we a few more great travel reads (to start at Part 1 click here).
Words can be truly powerful, but I think it is the images that really bring them to life. And this is what I found in CHINA: Portrait of a People, regarded in some circles as the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author.
Author and American Travel Photographer Tom Carter is no stranger to long treks through foreign lands. He has spent 18 months backpacking down the length of Mexico, Cuba and Central America, followed by one year stints in Japan and India. But it is his time in China (where he has lived in since 2004) that led to his first book. He sums it up like this:
1 Country * 56 Cultures * 1.3 Billion People * 33 Provinces
2 Years * 56,000 Kilometers * A Photographer and his Camera
But it is much deeper than that.
Encountering China’s 56 different ethnic minorities, each possessing their own distinct lifestyles, languages and customs, Carter sojourned on a travel regimen that would make even the staunchest of bare-bones adventure travelers flinch. Making do on a very limited budget with only a backpack and digital camera, traveling via the cheapest transportation, and sleeping in single-digit dollar guesthouses, he had one goal in mind: to portray China to the West candidly, fairly and objectively.
The book is amazing, encompassing over 800 vivid color photos, and printed in a 6” X 6” book which, when going through, makes the reader feel more like they are sharing close friend or relatives’ vacation photos, a robust 638 pages of them.
Despite the stereotypical images of the Chinese people often portrayed in the media in the states, what’s clear through Carter’s extensive time literally living side by side with many a country man and woman, is that there are bountiful layers of complexity, joy, history, culture and more to the estimated 1.3 billion people living in the fourth largest country in the world.
CHINA: Portrait of a People, www.amazon.com/gp/product/9889979942
Echoes that Speak Loudly
I saved Echoes of Earth: Finding Ourselves in the Origin of the Planet for last, because in lieu of sharing travel adventures and perspectives within and/or about a specific destination or country, the book offers unique aspects about the planet in which we live through a voyage by two women to simply photograph, or so they thought, some of the oldest rock and mineral sites around the globe.
Of the journey by authors L. Sue Baugh and Lynn Martinelli, the latter says, “We expected to come back only with images for a photo-essay book. We did not expect to be transformed as artists nor to discover that our human origins lie hidden in the story of the oldest stones. Our bodies carry ancient minerals deep within our bones and ancient life within our human cells.”
The 200-plus photographs in the book are stunning, fashioned to shift a reader’s perspective in passionate and unexpected ways through its 9” x 11” format, two-page spreads, foldouts, half pages, and cutouts—essentially in a visual “flip book” format. In the end, the authors say, we can see how “We are all echoes of Earth.”
Echoes of Earth: Finding Ourselves in the Origin of the Planet, www.amazon.com/Echoes-Earth-Finding-ourselves-origins/dp/0983857636
To read part one click here.