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FIRST PHOTOBOOK SHORTLIST: The Naming of a River

Xinhao Cheng
The Naming of a River

Jiazazhi Press, Ningbo, China, 2016
Designed by Yanyou Yuan Di and Xinhao Cheng
jiazazhi.com

How to understand something as protean as a river? One side of Xinhao Cheng’s leporello-bound book features a series of panoramic images depicting the idyllic banks of the Panlong River in China’s Yunnan Province, as it flows less than one hundred kilometers through cities, suburbs, and seemingly pristine valleys. On the other, the viewer is presented with a selection of both geological and biological specimens, as well as a sampling of the humans who can be found along the riverbanks: farmers, shepherds, fossil-seekers, grannies with bound feet, and saxophonists. “Cheng’s book offers us this particular river as a microcosm of the shifting balance between the rural and the urban,” notes Lesley Martin. “It’s a lovely, beautifully assembled book project.”

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