Seeking Higher Ground Life in the Shadow of the Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Project (TGP) near Yichang, Hubei province in central China will build the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. When complete, in 2009, a dam will span 1.3 miles across the Yangtze River, partially inundating the historic and scenic Three Gorges of China. Its purpose is to remedy both catastrophic flooding as well as the increased demands for electricity in a rapidly developing society. This ambitious and controversial project is enormous in scale and drives tremendous change and upheaval on various fronts.
The project brings increased investment into the region, which transforms a traditional, community oriented, agriculture-based economy and society to more of a modern, individual-oriented, diverse economy and society. Some adapt to these changes successfully; others not as well. The 400-mile long reservoir created by the dam will require the resettlement of -- by Chinese government statistics -- 1.3 million people, sometimes far from their ancestral homes. Officials throughout the Governmental system have tremendous influence and discretion in the decision making process for the resettlement of the citizens of the relocating cities and towns.
These photographs create a portrait of a community, capturing moments in time in the lives of people negotiating the various changes brought about by a monumental modernization drive, of which the Three Gorges Dam Project is a key catalyst. Their lives and stories form a human mosaic around the largest construction project in China. My aim is to capture the dignity of these people who are dealing with these many shifting landscapes, while also preserving a record of a life the future will not know.