Bill Zorn’s book “Three Gorges” is listed on my blog in the references & books section because it’s a beautiful product and I read it with great interest. It’s one of these books that bring a lot of emotions. I heard about it on The Luminous Landscape by Michael Reichmann, and decided to give it a try. It’s now part of my favorite photo books and owns its place in my bookshelf. What makes this book special is that it is about something real, something that touched and still touching millions of people in China. The book gives you the details, the background you need to realize the impact of political decisions on nature and life of people.
Three Gorges is filled with awesome pictures of the past and present in this area. The construction of a huge dam and flooding a complete region is not something we see every day, especially in countries where life has established itself for centuries, generation after generation.
If you are interested in this book and really want to make the most of it, here’s what I suggest. Choose a moment where nobody is going to interrupt your reading, put headphones with Chinese or similar relaxing music and set mind for reading the book in its entirety, in one shot, slowly, no rush. And force yourself to look at each picture for at least 30 seconds. I am not kidding. You’d be surprised how quickly people look at pictures, without taking the time to “see” and “understand”, through details in a photograph. I read a book from Brooks Jenson 2 years ago (I read all of his books, but can’t remember in which one I read that), and the topic was about looking at photographs, like taking the time to look at everything, every details, and appreciate what the photographer saw when taking it. Anyways, I think it is a good exercise to force you to analyze a photograph for a specific length of time, just to realize that most of the time we “look” but don’t “see”.
Going back to Three Gorges. The book is an experience. I was very touched by it and plan to read it again when I’m quiet and relax. Even the several quotes included here and there make you think and wonder about what we are doing to our planet and its resources. Where should the line by drawn? Who knows? But the people living in this area probably wanted the line to be drawn elsewhere.
Recently I saw a reportage on TV about this area. After reading the book it was special to actually see it for real. They were showing flooded buildings and houses, bridges, even cemetery, and how people had to adapt and move to live their lives. These people are limited in resources and have to work hard and rebuild everything to keep up with their new reality.
If you’re looking for a great book to “see” and read, a book of passion for nature and life, I really recommend you order Bill Zorn’s Three Gorges.
For other book recommendations, take a look at the References & Books section on my blog. More books will be added as I read them. I am also very interested in book suggestion from you. Feel free to drop me a note or comment. Thanks!
Note: pictures above are all copyright Bill Zorn.
© Normand Primeau