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Dave Tacon – Yangtze River

Stories 2022 Shortlist

By July 7, 2022Stories 2022

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Photographed in

The Yangtze is a central character in a struggle between man and nature. For millennia this mighty river, China’s longest, has been a source of life as well as destruction through catastrophic floods and droughts. A series of dams including the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam are China’s ongoing attempt to bring this river to heel. 

One in every 15 people on earth live within the Yangtze watershed. The sparse rural landscape of the upper reaches gives way to a pollution haze, a symptom of China’s unprecedented economic boom. In this shifting landscape, I have been drawn to quiet and introspective moments shared between the river and those drawn to it in places wholly unfamiliar to most non-Chinese.

April 21, 2018, Hejiang, China – Two boys play with a kite on a large expanse of concrete on the edge of the Yangtze River. This county is one of the oldest in the upper Yangtze region with a history of more than 2,100 years.

August 13, 2017, Fuling, China – A policeman rides on a segway type vehicle on a road that leads down to the Yangtze River.

March 12, 2017, Shanghai, China – A photo shoot for a couple engaged to be wed at Yangtze River Wetlands Park, Pudong District.

April 19, 2018, Yibin, China – A young man lights his friend’s cigarette on a viewing platform overlooking where the Min and Jinsha Rivers meet to form the Yangtze River.

September 7, 2021, Jingzhou, China – A cargo ship makes its way upstream past a crowd of people on an island sandbank by the Yangtze River.

August 6, 2018, Shanghai, China – Members of an extended family play by the Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge, which links the islands of Changxing and Chongming. The entire system of tunnel and bridge that spans the Yangtze River at this section is 25.5 km wide.

November 12, 2017, Wuhu, China – A couple walk from steps that have been decorated with metal sculpturesof giant crabs on the edge of the Yangtze River.

August 11, 2018, Yueyang, China – A woman passes watermelons to her husband from the edge of their boat from which they sells provisions to the crew of ships on the Yangtze River.

April 24, 2018, Nanjing, China – Swan statues by a pond in Binjiang Park by the Jiajiang branch of the Yangtze River.

October 26, 2015, Wuhan, China – A man fishes from the banks of the Yangtze River. A Wuchang District on the opposite bank, can be made out through thick smog. This point in the river is around two thirds of a mile wide. Chairman Mao Zedong famously swam in the Yangtze River on July 16, 1966, at 73 years of age, in propaganda stunt on the eve of the Cultural Revolution.

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