China – The Winners And Losers

En route in China

Qin Ling Ling, star of travelling circus from Anhui, Hukoi, Shanxi.

En route in China

Liu Tianyou, 91, oldest living participant of the "Long March", Yan'an, Shanxi.

En route in China

Sung Rongshou, chicken and duck dealer, Baijahou, Chongqing.

En route in China (Hatje Cantz, ISBN 978-3-7757-3336-6, €39.80), where the social differences are as vast as the country itself.

China is one of the fasted growing economies worldwide, but the effect of this growth aren’t felt the same way throughout the country. Swiss photographers Monika Fischer (*1971) and Mathias Braschler (*1969) decided to take one portrait every day on their thirty-thousand-kilometer journey across China. Most of the time they did not know whom they would meet, and so along the way they created an astonishing, kaleidoscopic view of the country’s diverse population, a cross-section of all of society’s classes, ethnicities, and age groups.

Their series of documentary photos shows both the winners and losers emerging from the overwhelming changes in the enormous country: the farmer who lives just a couple of kilometers away from the Chinese space center but still plows his small farm with a team of water buffalos; the filthy-rich owner of a yacht club, posing casually in front of his purple Lamborghini; or the little girl from the traveling circus, standing on the table that serves as her stage. Braschler and Fischer give them names, describe their stories, and maintain their dignity.

China, a fascinating place full of contradictions. ❚