China: Portrait of a People

"China's rise is the story of the century," writes Matt Schiavenza, editor of The Atlantic's newly launched China Channel -- a new avenue for our expanding coverage of the world's largest nation in the 21st century. In that spirit, today, I'd like to introduce photographer Tom Carter. Nine years ago, Carter traveled from San Francisco to China, responding to a job posting that turned out to be a scam. He managed to find another job as a teacher, and saved enough money to embark on a 56,000 km trip through all of China's 33 provinces that lasted two years. Carrying a camera -- just a a 4-megapixel point-and-shoot -- Carter captured some amazing images of the widely varying landscape, people, and architecture across the nation. He then collected 900 of these photos into a book titled CHINA: Portrait of a People. Carter writes that his photos help to show that "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." Carter was kind enough to share some of his portraits here, on the day that The Atlantic launches its new China Channel.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Omar Havana/Getty Images

    Nepal After the Earthquake

    A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal early on Saturday, centered 10 miles below the surface, less than 50 miles from the capital of Kathmandu. At least 1,100 are already reported to have been killed by the quake and subsequent avalanches triggered in the Himalayas.

  • Smithsonian.com

    Winners of the 2014 Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

    The editors of Smithsonian magazine have announced the winners of their 12th annual photo contest, selected from more than 26,500 entries.

  • Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

    The Eruption of Chile's Calbuco Volcano

    Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky over a sparsely populated, mountainous area, triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano.

  • NASA

    Earth Day 45

    First organized in 1970, Earth Day is a day set aside to remember and appreciate the Earth's environment, and our responsibilities and roles within it. Today, April 22, we observe the 45th annual Earth Day, and though many things have changed for the better, environmental challenges remain.

Join the Discussion