Nadav Kander: 3 years taking photos of China’s longest river

Nadav Kander - Chongqing I, Chongqing Municipality
Nadav KanderChongqing I, Chongqing Municipality

Nadav Kander’s trips to China

For his Yangtze photos Nadav Kander came to China several times in 2005 to 2007, visited 186 cities and traveled along the world’s third largest river, from the spring in the Himalaya to the mouth. Humans are usually just portrayed as small figures next to a gigantic setting, either of the river itself or one of the numerous construction projects. The Chinese people shown are often merely victims of the unstoppable change that is flowing through China with an enormous force, comparable to that of the Yangtze River. Old, traditional buildings and housing boats are replaced by gigantic anonymous buildings, reducing the human to the role of a spectator rather than a maker.

What makes the Yangtze River special?

The Yangtze River is widely known for being one of the most interesting and visually distinct rivers in the world. It has different names based on what regions it goes through. It’s named Jinsha, Tongtian, Blue River, Yangzi Jiang, Jing Jiang and even the Sichuan River. Another great Yangtze River fact is that the earliest evidence of human activity found near it was stated to be around 27000 years ago according to researchers.

What the river is known for

The Yangtze River basin is known for the fact that this is a grain and rice-producing region. People also produce barley and wheat here, as well as maize, beans and cotton. An interesting Yangtze River fact is that the river first appeared on the European maps under the name Quiansui or Quian, both names being given by Marco Polo. It’s still safe to say that this river is iconic for China and it continues to help the local economy1 greatly.

How long is the Yangtze River?

The Yangtze River covers most of China and it’s more than 6000km in length. Out of those, around 2800km are navigable. One of the main Yangtze River facts is that this is the longest river in Asia and the third one in the world in regards to their water debit. The watershed of this river alone is more than 695000 square miles, so it does cover a significant amount of space, which is quite impressive. Some ocean vessels are able to travel 1000 miles on the river. If you have a smaller boat you will be able to travel even further than that when necessary.

Dams & floods

You will also be impressed by the fact that the Yangtze River is home to one of the oldest dam-free irrigation systems named Dujiangyan Irrigation Project at the western side of the Chengdu City. The first Dam created on the Yangtze River was the Gezhouba Dam, but the largest one is the Three Gorges Dam2, finished in 1998. What a lot of people dislike is the fact that the Yangtze River valley floods every summer3, however, river dikes made it accessible for people to live in the valley.

Photos – Chongqing

Nadav Kander – Chongqing II, Chongqing Municipality, 2006
Nadav KanderChongqing II, Chongqing Municipality, 2006

Nadav Kander - Chongqing III, Chongqing Municipality
Nadav KanderChongqing III, Chongqing Municipality

Nadav Kander – Chongqing IV (Sunday Picnic), Chongqing Municipality, 2006
Nadav KanderChongqing IV (Sunday Picnic), Chongqing Municipality, 2006

Nadav Kander - Chongqing VI - Chongqing Municipality, 2006
Nadav KanderChongqing VI (Sunday Afternoon), Chongqing Municipality, 2006

Nadav Kander - Chongqing VII (Washing Bike), Chongqing Municipality, 2007
Nadav KanderChongqing VII (Washing Bike), Chongqing Municipality, 2007

Nadav Kander - Chongqing XI, Chongqing Municipality, 2007
Nadav KanderChongqing XI, Chongqing Municipality, 2007

Nadav Kander - Old Fengdu II, (Looking At New Fengdu), Chongqing Municipality, 2006
Nadav KanderOld Fengdu II, (Looking At New Fengdu), Chongqing Municipality, 2006

Nadav Kander – Fengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality, 2007
Nadav KanderFengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality, 2007

Photos – Hubei Province

Nadav Kander - Xiling Gorge I, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderXiling Gorge I, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Three Gorges Dam I (The State is Shattered, Mountains and Rivers Remain), Yichang, Hubei Province
Nadav KanderThree Gorges Dam I (The State is Shattered, Mountains and Rivers Remain), Yichang, Hubei Province

Nadav Kander - Three Gorges Dam II, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderThree Gorges Dam II, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Three Gorges Dam III, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderThree Gorges Dam III, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Three Gorges Dam IV (Flood Level), Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderThree Gorges Dam IV (Flood Level), Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Three Gorges Dam VI, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderThree Gorges Dam VI, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Three Georges Dam V, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderThree Georges Dam V, Yichang, Hubei Province, 2007

Nadav Kander – Wu Gorge, Hubei Province
Nadav KanderWu Gorge, Hubei Province

Nadav Kander - Xiling Gorge III, Hubei Province, 2007
Nadav KanderXiling Gorge III, Hubei Province, 2007

Photos – Jiangsu Province

Nadav Kander – Nanjing II (Metal Palm), Jiangsu Province, 2007
Nadav KanderNanjing II (Metal Palm), Jiangsu Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Nanjing I, Jiangsu Province, 2007
Nadav KanderNanjing I, Jiangsu Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Nanjing III (after Las Vegas), Jiangsu Province, 2007
Nadav KanderNanjing III (after Las Vegas), Jiangsu Province, 2007

Photos – Qinghai Province

Nadav Kander – Qinghai Province II, 2007
Nadav KanderQinghai Province II

Nadav Kander - Qinghai Province III
Nadav KanderQinghai Province III

Photos – Shanghai Province

Nadav Kander – Changxing Island II, Shanghai, 2006
Nadav KanderChangxing Island II, Shanghai, 2006

Nadav Kander – Mouth VI, near Shanghai, 2007
Nadav KanderMouth VI, near Shanghai, 2007

Nadav Kander - Changxing Island I (Island of Oranges) Shanghai
Nadav KanderChangxing Island I (Island of Oranges) Shanghai

Nadav Kander - Pudong I, Shanghai, 2007
Nadav KanderPudong I, Shanghai, 2007

Nadav Kander - Shanghai I, 2006
Nadav KanderShanghai I, 2006

Photos – Sichuan Province

Nadav Kander - Bathers, Yibin, Sichuan, 2007
Nadav KanderBathers, Yibin, Sichuan, 2007

Nadav Kander – Yibin II (Counting Receipts), Sichuan ProvinceNadav KanderYibin II (Counting Receipts), Sichuan Province

Nadav Kander - Yibin III, Sichuan Province
Nadav KanderYibin III, Sichuan Province

Nadav Kander - Yibin IV, Sichuan Province, 2007
Nadav KanderYibin IV, Sichuan Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Yibin V, Sichuan Province
Nadav KanderYibin V, Sichuan Province

Nadav Kander - Yibin VI, Sichuan Province, 2007
Nadav KanderYibin VI, Sichuan Province, 2007

Nadav Kander - Yibin VII, Sichuan Province
Nadav KanderYibin VII, Sichuan Province

Photos – Yunnan Province

Nadav Kander - Zhongdian I, Shangri La, Yunnan Province, 2006
Nadav KanderZhongdian I, Shangri La, Yunnan Province, 2006

All images by Nadav Kander/nadavkander.com unless otherwise noted.

Videos

Nadav Kander comments on his famous Yangtze series and deliver an interesting insight on his opinions on the purpose of photography, the rapid change of China, his own identity and more.

7min 51sec

Nadav Kander about ‘Yangtze’

10min 10sec

Book preview

7min 54sec

Related works

Related readings

  1. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/05/c_137721655.htm
  2. https://publicdelivery.org/edward-burtynsky-china/#Photos_Three_Gorges_Dam_Project
  3. https://www.britannica.com/science/Yangtze-River-floods
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