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

  • Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty

    Photos From the 2021 Westminster Dog Show

    Images of the dogs and their handlers during the three-day competition and preliminary activities

  • China Daily via Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Jovian Moon, Sunrise Piper, Sea Snot

    An optical illusion at the Eiffel Tower, a presidential election in Peru, a giant sinkhole in Mexico, a sunrise annular eclipse seen in New York City, a platypus health check in Australia, and much more

  • Justin Sullivan / Getty

    Photos: California’s Growing Drought Disaster

    Two years of extremely dry weather have driven the levels of California’s reservoirs to near-record lows, and residents, farmers, and fire crews are preparing for a long, dry summer.

  • Chris McGrath / Getty

    Drought and Sinkholes Threaten Farmers in Turkey

    Chris McGrath, a photographer with Getty Images, recently spent time in Turkey’s Konya province, where extreme drought conditions have been taking a heavy toll on farmers and the land.