Opinion / Featured Contributors

Guizhou through a photographer's eye

Updated: 2017-12-01 07:46 By Bruce Connolly (chinadaily.com.cn)
Guizhou through a photographer's eye

Corn cobs Huamao. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

For Bruce Connolly a visit to Guizhou provided an opportunity to capture images of this beautiful land and also reflect about rural life and the area's future.

China today is home to some of the world's largest cities, whose populations often exceed that of many western countries. Images many people hold of contemporary China include, for example, the skyline of Shanghai's Pudong district. However this reflects but a tiny period in the nation's long history. As recently as 1978 only 16 percentpercent of China's population was urban. By 2012 more than half the country had urbanized, a figure closer to 60 percent today. Despite the push towards urbanization physically most of the country's land surface has not been “concreted over” by the spread of high-rise buildings. Indeed, extensive areas of China remain uninhabited!

Personally, rural China has always fascinated and captivated me more than the giant metropolises despite their often world-leading architecture. With the countryside, I see a story of man's relationship with land, water and seasonal climatic cycles. Of being able to work the soil, to produce bountiful crops, to rear animals and to feed the people. Regularly during my travels I sat for hours transfixed, thinking of this relationship, how it all comes together, how it works.

For China, rural life usually centers around the village. The village through history has been a key element within Chinese rural society. It is where decisions on farming strategies are communally agreed upon and from where people for centuries have gone out to the fields working as a team. Villages of course take on regional differences in layout and architectural style, many also being home to the country's various, colorful ethnic nationalities.

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