He began exploring the emerging industrial power in "The Vanishing: Altered Landscapes and Displaced Lives" [1999 -2003] where he recorded the impact the construction of the Three Gorges Dam had upon both the landscape of the Yangtze River and the population who lived alongside its river bank.
Drawn to the rich visual expression of China's booming economy, Ian continued to photograph its expansion, looking at the darker aspects of China's rapid growth. As Evan Osnos, the New Yorker China correspondent has written, Ian photographs "The roots of the economic miracle, the elemental mix of earth and sweat and smoke".
In his much acclaimed "Undercurrents", published in 2008 by Deep Sleep Editions, Ian brings together a number of projects shot in China. Each section of the book is like a short film made out of stills and as he says in his own words.. "They are narratives that are built on moments of time collected over extended periods. Each story is a woven fabric of compositional and colour threads that come together to create a particular ambience intended to both emphasize my perspective on the subject…"
His latest collection and reworking of his China project is "Traces", published by Deep Sleep Editions in 2011. It sets the unpopulated, almost abstract landscapes, against the intimate portraits of the people living within the panoramic landscapes.
Ian's work has been exhibited widely; including a solo show of "Undercurrents" at the Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Kiang Gallery, Atlanta, USA and the Paris Beijing Gallery, China.
"Traces" has been shown at Flowers East, London, the 2011 Noorderlicht Photography Festival and will be exhibited at the Kunsthall Rotterdam in 2012.
Ian has won a number of important photography awards including the 2011 Emergency Funding Grant from Magnum and was highly commended in the 2009 and 2010 Prix Pictet prize. In 2010 the literary magazine Granta published a ten year retrospective of his work from China.
His work is held in public and private collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and the Howard Stern Collection.