Monday, August 26, 2013


On a warm, cloud scattered, summer afternoon about fifty years ago, in an empty lot about a block away from my home in Harvey, Illinois, my friends and I were digging one of our first underground, comic book reading dens when our old neighbor, Mr. Petticort, from across the alley just happened to come walking back from Stephie's Grocery Store. After stopping to see what we kids were up to he said, "If you guys keep digging deep enough you just might dig yourself all the way down to China". We all stopped and looked at each other for a short time, and decided that that was exactly what we were going to do.
China, I thought, was about as far away and exotic as a place could be from the midwestern neighborhood in North America that I was a part of. As I carried this thought with me for many years, I intended to go there someday. In the Autumn of 1986 to the Spring of 1987, I was given a sabbatical from the University of South Dakota, to travel and photograph throughout China. I wandered through the central, southern, and eastern coast of China for five months, and along the way made these visual notations of what I saw, as an atmosphere of change and transition began to grow, and just as the student demonstrations and protests were beginning to pick up momentum. I also wrote word images in my daily journal as I traveled, and have exhibited pages from them along with these photographs.
There are 200 photographs in this series, printed on 11"x14" Portriga Rapid paper, and matted to 16"x20".