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Home > Author > Tom Carter
Tom Carter

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Tom Carter | photojournalist & author of CHINA: Portrait of a People

Background Information

In 2006, photojournalist Tom Carter embarked on a historic, 2-year journey that would take him throughout the 33 provinces of China, making him one of the first foreigners in China’s 5,000 year history to do so.

From the Yellow Sea to the Himalayas, Tom visited well over 200 cities and villages in a determination to understand, and thoroughly record, life and humanity in today’s People’s Republic.

This definitive volume of street photography, entitled ‘CHINA: Portrait of a People,’ is the most comprehensive collection of imagery of contemporary China ever published by a single author.

Tom Carter is considered an authority on traveling in China and is highly sought after by the P.R.C's leading English-language publications for both his insightful prose and vivid photography, a rare one-two punch that makes Tom stand impressively far apart in an increasingly crowded field of foreign correspondents in China.

Please support CHINA: Portrait of a People. Buy your copy HERE.

As Thomas Carter's new photobook CHINA: Portrait of a People makes its debut as the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author, literati and the press are unable to hold back their acclaim. Following are excerpts from the praise CHINA: Portrait of a People continues to receive from readers and media reviewers:

"Unless you want to undertake your own two-year trek through some of the mainland's most difficult terrain to take your own shots, this is a study well worth having on your bookshelf." - South China Morning Post

"CHINA: Portrait of a People is not just an idyllic souvenir for Sinophiles, but a timeless piece of literature that...can be passed down through the dynasties as one of the most honest and educational illustrated books on contemporary China ever published." - New Asia Books (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"The pictures are evocative, although not works of art. Instead, the systematic
classification of images is almost anthropological." - China Review (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"The collection of 800 photos paints a beautiful, comprehensive portrait of China and its people in a way that words never could." - the Beijinger (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"China: Portrait of a People is a snapshot of an entire country in a time of great change; a truthful and touching portrayal of the Chinese people in all their variety, charm and earthiness. As such, even if it does not turn out a best-seller, it will have lasting value as a social document. This isn't a coffee table book of the Great Wall or the quintessentially Chinese landscapes of Guilin. It isn't a travel book either, although it may well inspire many to come see China for themselves." - China.Org (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Instead of similar photo books, China: Portrait of a People (published by Blacksmith Books, 635 pages, 280 yuan) is a more portable volume. Rather than focus on geographic, landscape or sight-seeing photos, Carter focuses on the distinct features and lifestyles that define the nation’s 56 ethnic groups collected in 33 provinces." - Beijing Today (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"CHINA: Portrait of a People is not to be dismissed as another light-hearted snapshot collection. But neither is it heavy socio-political commentary. Photojournalist-cum-travel writer Tom Carter has successfully struck a fine balance between the two, dividing the 600-plus pages of annotated photography into 33 chapters, a document of the two years he spent travelling in different Chinese provinces." - HK Magazine (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Tom Carter gets around. Thirty three provinces, 56 ethnic cultures, 10,000 portraits. The 35-year-old American spent two years on the road photographing people from every nook and cranny in China for his ambitious 640-page coffee-table book, CHINA: Portrait of a People. His stated mission: To dispel the stereotype of the Chinese as a homogeneous single nationality." - Urbanatomy Shanghai (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"For those who read more in a twinkling eye or a lined brow than in a slate roof, (CHINA: Portrait of a People) is a revelation, providing a more honest picture of this turbulent land than a rack of China travel books pre-approved by the Ministry of Information." - China Expat (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Tom gives us an incredible insight to the people of China, from poor to wealthy, young to old. You can see he gets into their culture and delivers a fabulous insider view, capturing emotions through the lens. Each region has a selection of Tom's photos with brief, but informative captions. It's not a travel guide or a photography technique guide but it will keep you enthralled for hours at a time." - ePhotozine (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Travel photos taken by a stranger seldom fascinate. But 800 color images captured by Tom Carter as he spent two years on the road, traveling 56,000 kilometers through all of China's 33 provinces, make a dramatic exception... Carter's weighty book takes an effort to carry home from a store. But anyone interested in China should love owning it." - Cairns Media Magazine (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"The images veer between the light-hearted (laughing children playing on a sand dune in Gansu), titillating (a pair of female KTV hostesses in Shandong lean in for a kiss), appalling (a mentally ill girl lies in the middle of the road as cars just pass her by), and thought provoking (the worn and sunburned face of a destitute old Tibetan lady). But there is a constant - the peering visages of all ethnicities, of all China. Through Carter's journey of self-discovery, we end up discovering a little more about ourselves - and a land so vast, so disparate, that 638 pages of photos barely manage to scratch the surface. Still, Portrait of a People is a very good place to start peeling back the layers." - Time Out (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"'Tom Carter is an extraordinary photographer whose powerful work captures the heart and soul of the Chinese people." - Anchee Min, author of Red Azalea and Empress Orchid (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Tom Carter's photo book is an honest and objective record of the Chinese and our way of life- his camera leads us through 33 wide-sweeping scenes of the real and the surreal." - Mian Mian, author of Candy (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"It takes a great boldness of spirit to set out to capture the essence of so diverse a people as the Chinese in a single volume of photography. The thrill is to discover that Tom Carter has achieved just that." - Asia Literary Review (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"As photojournalist Tom Carter discovered on his journey across China, to know the true spirit and culture of a place, you must look into the faces of its people." - MiNDFOOD magazine (read the entire China Portrait review here)

Doing business in China is all about getting to know the Chinese people and their culture. Precisely what this stunning book by Tom Carter has to offer. Eye opener!" - China Success Stories (read the entire China Portrait review here)

"Tom Carter is a guerrilla hit-and-run photojournalist with a camera instead of a grenade launcher. To take the up-close and personal pictures in Portrait of a People, Carter risked jail; almost froze on the way to Tibet; faced exhaustion and hunger; was beaten by drunks; plagued by viral infections; and risked being shot by North Korean border guards. The hundreds of photos in Portrait are priceless. I doubt if there will ever be another book about China like this one." - Lloyd Lofthouse, author of My Splendid Concubine (read the entire China Portrait review here)


Click here to purchase CHINA: Portrait of a People

Join the China Portrait fan page on FaceBook. Also check out the cool China Portrait and Chinese Architecture videos on YouTube. Check out these China Postcards. Join the China Portrait discussions. Browse China Portrait news. Read the China Portrait interview. Blogs in Chinese: 中国 旅游  背包 博客 China Travel  China Backpacker Tom Carter    Thomas Carter  Photography Book ReviewChina Photographer video

Birth Place
San Francisco, CA U.S.A.
Contact Information

Unit D, 12/F, Kimley Commercial Building 142-146 Queen's Road
Central Hong Kong     Hong Kong
Contact Author: Tom Carter

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