People of China Photographer

by Joelle

I have always be passionate about photography and studied several grand photographers throughout the years. Every time I travel to a new destination I like to browse through books, references and magazines to check how other people ” see ” the land  it’s people  and culture I will be soon getting acquainted with. Most photographers are source of inspiration to me independent on liking or not their work.

When I contacted Travel photographer Tom Carter, author of CHINA: Portrait of a People from New York for an interview he wrote to me  the following answer I am not sure why… ”  Are you familiar with my background as a photographer and author?  I have lived in China/Asia for the past 8 years and spent 2 years backpacking 56,000 kilometers across all 33 provinces in China.

His book CHINA: Portrait of a People is the #1 Asian travel photography book on Amazon, and considered the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author
The poignant portraiture is a reflection of what he feels not to know about  : the concept of ‘ Luxury”.
By luxury I mean to be fortunate enough to have  the privilege  of interacting with a life and people you chose  without boundaries for the sake of sharing and make that difference in the world!

Well done Tom!  See you next time in Yunaan for a  small cup of Chinese tea.


 J.M: Where were you born?

I was born and raised in the City of San Francisco and will always consider it home even though I haven’t lived there in over a decade.

J.M:When was your first journey?

My first solo journey was down the length of Mexico, Cuba and Central America back in 2000. It started out as a summer camping adventure in Baja, just me and my 1983 Chevy Suburban 4×4, but I kept going and going and never looked back. 18 months later, I finally reached Panama.

J.M: When did you start to use a camera?

I bought my very first camera in 1992, when I started college. I was a sketch artist since I was a child, but for some reason after high school I simply stopped drawing and took up photography.

J.M: Where did you learn photography and what camera do you use?

I’ve never had any formal photographic training. I am entirely self-taught. What I lack in technical proficiency I make up for with a keen eye. I do not use Photoshop or any digital manipulation software, and I prefer natural lighting over flash. It’s hard for me to sell to stock agencies because my photos are 100%  natural, but the upside is that, because of this realism, my photo book CHINA: Portrait of a People has become a best-seller.

J.M: Why China?

After my adventure in Latin America, I was all out of money. I saw an ad on Craigslist to teach English in China and figured it was an ideal way to keep seeing the world. The ad turned out to be a scam, but I stayed anyway. Now I am going on my 8th year here in Asia, including a year in Japan and a year in India. But China has become my second home.

J.M: Did you ever travel alone in China or always with company?

My first spin across China I was solo. I traversed all 33 province alone, with limited language skills and an even more limited budget.

J.M: Did you ever feel lonely?

Every region in China has its own distinct character. Northeast China along the Siberian border literally captured my breath because it was -30 degrees. Tibet, on the other side of China, also “took my breath away” because I was at an altitude of nearly 6,000 meters and felt like I was suffocating. I can make all kinds of metaphors.

J.M: Are you going back?

I live in China, so I’m sure I’ll be getting photo assignments to go back to various provinces.

J.M:Do you think you have a mission in Life? If yes Which?

My personal mission is to see as much of the world as possible, take pictures and write about it. I’d like to immortalize it all in books because I believe in the longevity of literature. The internet is cool, but books are forever!


J.M:Next adventure?

I have lots planned; it’s just a matter of financing.


Joelle’s Tips:


Please include these links:

The Photographer:


The Book:


Copyrights: All photos on this post are courtesy of  Tom Carter.

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China

People of China



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