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

  • Jessica Chou

    Americans at Work: The Gig Economy

    This week, our “Americans at Work photo essay features photographs of millennial freelancers living in Los Angeles made by photographer Jessica Chou.

  • Gleb Garanich / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 2/11–2/17

    An overflowing dam in California, the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival in Taiwan, Beyonce at the Grammys, Carnival in Venice, protests in Romania, and much more.

  • Christinne Muschi / Reuters

    Refugees Fleeing Into Canada From the United States

    Reuters photographer Christinne Muschi recently spent time photographing refugees who took taxis to the end of a dead-end road in the U.S. to walk across the border into Canada, into the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  • Mike Segar / Reuters

    Scenes From the 2017 Westminster Dog Show

    A total of 2,908 dogs were entered in this year’s 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, consisting of 200 different breeds or varieties.

Join the Discussion