In headlong leaps toward capitalism, during the past 25 years, the lifestyles and landscapes of China have been changing beyond recognition with blinding speed. To officially signal the change to the world, in 1992, Deng Xiao Ping proclaimed, “To be rich is to be glorious!” Yet the mad rush to embrace Western ideals has — and is — creating profound consequences for the people of China and for the rest of the world
Canadian photogapher Edward Burtynsky worked through diplomatic channels to gain access to photograph many sites undergoing enormous change. With his large format camera, over the course of three years, Burtysnky has captured the vast scale and minute details of monumental transformations of a society. He documents today’s “factories for the world”; the dumping grounds for the hand-recycling of the world’s e-waste; the unprecedented migrations of millions of humans toward brand new urban environments; and the ecological footprint of Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam on the planet that forced the relocation and threatened the livelihoods of more than 1.13 million people.