Photo: Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
Haunting Pictures of Loneliness Along the Yellow River
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Haunting Pictures of Loneliness Along the Yellow River Photography from the cradle of Chinese civilization

By Photo: Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery

Over a three-year period beginning in 2010, Chinese photographer Zhang Kechun followed the mythical Yellow River, walking from the estuary of the river in Shandong westward to the river’s source near the Bayan Har Mountain with a large-format camera, capturing images of life along the waterway. 

Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
A Buddha Head in a Coalfield, Ningxia

Although the images offer glimpses of China's rapid development, their muted palettesoft sandy yellows, gray skies, and pallid greensnevertheless convey majesty and serenity. 

Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
A Bridge Under Construction, Henan 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
People Fishing by the River, Shaanxi 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
A Rockery in the Middle of a Dry Lake, Shandong 

Kechun’s wide shots create a dialogue between the expansive landscape and its inhabitants, which appear tiny in comparison. The slight overexposure in the images adds softness, and makes the landscape seem otherworldly. 

Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
A Cement Road in a Desert, Ningxia 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
A Man Pumping in the Desert, Ningxia 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
Sculpture, Inner Mongolia

Despite referencing the steady environmental destruction that is taking place along the river, there is also something hopeful in the images. The river will continue to run. 

Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
Untitled No. 1 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
Untitled No. 4 
Zhang Kechun; Courtesy of Three Shadows +3 Gallery
Xiaolangdi Dam, Henan
 
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