Tom Carter: Portrait of a People

Old man wearing fur hat
Shanxi miner
Tibetan girl

Tom Carter is a photographer who spent two years backpacking around China, taking photographs of people in every province. The result is a book called China: Portrait of a People, recently published by Blacksmith Books.

You can see more of his photography on, buy the book on his publisher's website, or watch a Youtube video about the book.

There are currently 8 Comments for Tom Carter: Portrait of a People.

Comments on Tom Carter: Portrait of a People

From the sample photos the book appears mis-titled. I'd suggest the following:

China: Portrait of a People made Funny-looking by the Unfortunate Combination of a Fish-eye Lens and Extreme Closeup.

Although I'll admit the original title rolls off the tongue a little more freely, I'm a big one for truth in advertising...

There's also a very cool interview with Mr. Carter about his two years of travel in China at

He's got a way with words as well as one with the camera!

Thx Danwei for the intro to Tom Carter and his work. Beautiful stuff!

I read your stuff every day via My Times, a news aggregator provided by NY Times. Keep up the brilliant work!

I will always remember the expenses paid junket for photographers I got into after reading a news item for ex-pats in China. It consisted of three days in Tengzhou with 60 some photographers, mostly Chinese. That was much appreciated. At that time I was living and teaching in Dalian.

So I have fond memories of Danwei, Tengzhou and China.

It's unfortunate that the media drools over so much rubbish yet ignores books that shows true China. (Even Danwei is a bit guilty of this; 2-sentence review for this 600 page book?). Perhaps westerners are so used to negative coverage of China that they can't swallow anything that makes our country look good, or at least neutral.


Hmmm, an American photojournalist NOT photographing the latest scandal or old Chinese crap? Could Carter be a foreign agent and his new book the latest release by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party?

My wife and I have had the privalage of seeing Tom Carter's talented work. His eye captures the heart and soul of China. By the way, Jon, post for November 27, 2008 at 7:04 AM, Tom isn't working for the Communist Party. He wasn't interested in the seventy million members of the Communist Party that rules China He was interested in the other 1.3 billion that have no say in the government.

I agree with 铃儿响叮当's comments: foreign journalists are interested only in Chinese scandal, while foreign tourists are only interested in China's pretty places. Tom Carter's photos of Chinese PEOPLE are a rare treat. I look forward to seeing this book (couldn't find it at the Bookworm; has it been banned from the Mainland?)

Hi if you're looking for this book please contact me, we can either ship it to you from the publishing house in HK or Shanghai, or the best,


Media Partners
Visit these sites for the latest China news
090609guardian2.png 090609CNN3.png
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.
Danwei Archives
Danwei Feeds
Via Feedsky rsschiclet2.png (on the mainland)
or Feedburner rsschiclet.gif (blocked in China)
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Main feed: Main posts (FB has top links)
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Top Links: Links from the top bar
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Danwei Jobs: Want ads
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Danwei Digest: Updated daily, 19:30