Cover of Yangtze Remembered by Linda Butler

Foreword by Simon Winchester
Yangtze Remembered
The River Beneath the Lake
Linda Butler Foreword by Simon Winchester

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2004
204 pages.
$72.50

Cloth ISBN: 9780804747547

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Gold Medal in the 2005 Sappi North American Printer of the Year Competition, book category Award, sponsored by the Sappi Fine Papers company.

Notable Book, 2005 Kiriyama Prize, sponsored by Center for the Pacific Rim, University of San Francisco.

In June 2003, the Three Gorges Dam opened and a reservoir the size of lake Superior began to form, inundating 372 miles of China's Yangtze River Valley. As 1,500 cities, towns and villages disappeared beneath the dark waters, more than a million people were being moved. Around the reservoir, huge construction projects are still transforming the landscape; mighty dikes, long bridges, apartment towers, and sprawling cities are springing up.

Between 2000 and 2003 Linda Butler made eight trips to the Yangtze to photograph the people, the human environment, and the natural landscape before, during, and after these changes. She spent long weeks in the busy cities and remote villages. Lyrical photographs of dramatic vistas are paired with images showing the ravages visited on this region by coal mining and erosion. Intimate shots of interiors reveal the contents of homes and stores, a table set for an impromptu meal, or a shop counter scattered with seed packets and posters of Mao. Informal portraits of local inhabitants preserve a record of the people as they carry pigs to market, load all their household furnishings onto a boat, or play badminton on a village street.

Accompanying the images is the photographer's travel commentary, which reads like a dynamic series of short stories. Butler's words reveal the invisible stories of the common people as they struggle to come to terms with the destruction of their homes and lives. Since ancient times, the Yangtze River itself has been like an unpredictable neighbor—sometimes generous, but at other times wreaking havoc on the lives of others. Perhaps because the river people have lived near such volatility they have developed a profound resilience in the face of adversity.

Yangtze Remembered is both a measured and a passionate book. The powerful images reveal much that we have never seen before and cannot ever see again.

About the authors

Linda Butler is an internationally known, prize-winning fine-arts photographer. Her work has been collected by numerous museums, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her photographs have also been widely exhibited, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Yokohama Museum of Art, and the Fondazione Querine-Stampalia in Venice.

Simon Winchester is a British author of books which examine events that have changed human history. His book on the Yangtze, River at the Center of the World, was widely praised.

"...Butler is a consummate artisan and the prints are marvels of tonal graduation and detail."

San Jose Mercury News

"Those who view these images... will be by turns amazed and dejected: no one who loves China and her people will ever forget these carefully made photographs, nor the moment in history that they so eloquently record, nor the poignancy that they so quietly reveal."

—Simon Winchester

"[Butler] has found an exemplary balance between sweeping vistas and formal portraits, between the interiors of humble dwellings and the grandeur of the dam...itself."

Photo Eye

"Simply put, Linda's is a never-can-be-duplicated record of the making of the Three Gorges Dam and the subsequent human-made lake that forever has altered...the great and turbulent Yangtze River."

—Frank van Riper

"The care that has gone into the creation of this volume is nothing short of extraordinary: the 101 black and white plates are so sharp they seem to abolish the distance between subject and viewer. Yangtze Remembered is both a powerful human testament and a landmark of documentary photography."

Common Reader

"In Butler's most recent project... she has photographed the 360-mile stretch of the Yangtze River... that is destined to be flooded behind the controversial Three Gorges Dam... A wintry sadness hangs over the landscape and technology that ought to concern anyone who cares about the earth."

—Steven Litt, Cleveland's Plain Dealer

"Yangtze Remebered: The River Beneath the Lake is no less than a gift to mankind. Butler's powerful images preserve an ancient tale."

Center for Photographic Art Newsletter

"Butler's dozens of formally composed images, many printed at full-page size, are a fine-arts photographer's tribute to a great river (and a river culture) undergoing convulsive change."

—-The San Francisco Chronicle

“ . . . This is highly recommended for large collections, especially those with readers interested in environmental issues.”—Library Journal