Traces (Book + print, Farmland. Linfen, Shanxi, China)

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Book + print
Edition of 100


30.20 x 24.00 cm

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NB: Casebound (Hardback) with de-bossed cover
64 pages, 34 plates
ISBN: 978-1-906412-37-1

Published by: Deep Sleep Editions
Publication date: 2011

Includes an essay by Evan Osnos, the New Yorker’s China correspondent.

A signed and numbered special limited edition of 100
including a 30.50 x 25.40 cm (or 12 x 10”), including borders, chromogenic print contained within an archival stitched parchment sleeve.


In his journal entry for 9 January 2010, photographer Ian Teh wrote:"The bus from Linfen takes a newly built highway heading south towards the Yellow River. The dust is everywhere, you can feel it on your fingers as something abrasive and dry that you would like to rub away but never can.

It coats every surface – from leaves and crops to buildings and factories lining both sides of the road. It floats in the air creating a fine veil of light ochre that tinges the passing scenery with the same monochromatic hue."

Like the dust on his hands China has become part of the fabric of Ian's creative skin. He has been documenting the country and its industrialization since 1999 and has explored the process by which China has soared to its position as a primary global economic power.

Looking at the underbelly of this industrial giant, Ian has gone away from the glittering buildings of the new cities and visited the hinterlands, the engine that drives the economic machine.

The grimy desperate squalor of the industrial process, supporting China's determined self-transformation, provides us with scenes redolent of 19th century European industrial revolution.

In his book "Traces" Ian brings together two distinct series which together show us the overlapping realities of the people and the spaces they inhabit. "Dark Clouds" is an intimate set of portraits of the workers living in the hinterland,along with scenes of their workplaces, forgotten by a society enthralled by the success of their country. The second section "Traces" offers a collection of industrialised landscapes. Devoid of people, these photographs are almost abstract in their bleak, dusty outlook, marking the scars of a ruthless ambition for unfettered progress.

"Traces" was featured in the Independent on Sunday by Adam Jacques who said...'Traces, a series of beautiful yet devasting portraits of the country's industrialisation'.

Artist's video and more information