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.
Although the images offer glimpses of China's rapid development, their muted palette—soft sandy yellows, gray skies, and pallid greens—nevertheless convey majesty and serenity.
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.
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.