Danny Lyon's China
The veteran civil rights photographer reveals more of his shots from Shanxi, northern China, online
We got an email from the great American photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, earlier this week, telling us he'd posted a group of his Chinese documentary images online. The collection, published in full in as Deep Sea Diver, a limited edition photo book following Lyon's six trips to Shanxi between 2005 - 2009, reveals a side to the county unseen in the country's boosterish growth forecasts, gigantic manufacturing hubs, and gleaming mega cities.
Lyon originally traveled to Shanxi, northern China, as a guest of the Pingyao International Photography Festival, held in every year in this ancient city. Yet, he soon ventured beyond the city's walls, to document life in this not especially rich region.
Unlike the country's prosperous coastal provinces, Shanxi's residents tend to rely on agriculture and mining for their income. Culturally, the old film posters, card games, cafes and car garages captured in Lyon's shots seem strangely antique, sharing as much with 1950s America as they do with latter-day Shanghai. Nevertheless, markers of change are still apparent, be they fashionable haircuts or mobile phones.
In all, it's an artfully observed selection of images, from a photographer who, having borne witness to changes wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, has also managed to capture another country at a crucial point in its history.