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The Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

I came across these mesmerising images recently.

They are by the Chinese photographer Zhang Kechun and are all of the Yellow River in China.

He explains the project as follows:

“We play and chase all day long in the powerful torrent of modernization. Yet the winding river has possibly been put out of our minds. There is no more gaze on it with quite and peace. even a second. It is a river, with its unity of bend and straight, fullness and imperfection, rapid and slow. active or tranquil. majestic and elegant. simple and wonderful. bright and dark. light and color. form and spirit. visionary and real. Moreover, it also embraces people’s reality and fate, joy and sorrow, firmness and leisure. Then I determined to go and follow its pace, with all my courage and my only presentable equipment the large format camera. That’s the connotation and solemnness I can give…”

Intriguingly, Zhang offers us no explanation as to what each image captures and whereabouts on his journey they were taken, which to my mind only adds to their allure…

With their deceptive simplicity, washed out colours and seemingly bizarre juxtapositions, Zhang’s images are at once familiar (deserts, industry, rivers, sculptures etc.) and yet entirely unknown.. What are those two guys doing in wet suits in that puddle with the crumbling brick tower, and as for the photo of Chairman Mao floating in a sea of orange inflatables and heads, the mind boggles….

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