This spring Noorderlicht Photogallery brings an exhibition of Ruben Terlou with photographs taken on his travels through China for the successful Dutch television documentary series Langs de Oevers van de Yangtze. Through his lens, we see how Chinese people from all walks of life chase their dreams and deal with the huge changes in the country.
Photographer Ruben Terlou (1985) travelled upstream along China’s longest river, the Yangtze. The journey carried him from the modern seaport of Shanghai on the developed east coast to deep inland where Terlou encountered the last remnants of traditional culture. He speaks fluent Mandarin and is acquainted with Chinese customs, having spent many years in the People’s Republic. This gave him unique access to everyday life with personal encounters and impressions. Ruben Terlou consequently offers an extraordinary view on a country that is one of the major world powers yet for us barely has a face.
Encounters along the Yangtze shows what this modernization brings the Chinese – a greater material wealth, but also the price paid for this. The loss of nature and centuries-old traditions, and the social and emotional sacrifices that ordinary Chinese people make. The images confront the visitor with his or her ideas and prejudices about China and invite reflection on a rapidly changing world.