Hong Kong, Hong Kong Hong Kong (PressExposure) August 24, 2007 -- American photojournalist Tom Carter today announced the completion of a groundbreaking journey throughout all 33 Chinese provinces and autonomous regions, and took his place amongst the few living Westerners able to make the claim.
With limited Chinese language skills and an even more limited budget, Carter backpacked alone across the vast 9.6 million sq. km. Middle Kingdom, visiting over 200 cities and villages.
"I'm exhausted and broke, but it feels good to join the elite ranks of the few in history who have had the ambition and the energy to see China in its entirety - Marco, Mao and Tom!" said the jubilant San Francisco native.
Commencing in early 2004, Carter's expedition included some of the most remote locations in the country: from the steaming jungles of Xishuangbanna in Yunnan to the frozen banks of the Amur River in Manchuria; from the sun-baked deserts of Xinjiang to the kungfu kingdom of Shaolin; from the Yellow Sea to the Himalayas. En route, he discovered and photographed immense geographic and ethnic diversity.
Carter's epic trip highlights what is to become the world's largest tourism market of the next decade. The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Shanghai's World Expo in 2010 are expected to attract between 50-100 million inbound tourists annually to the People's Republic.
A freelance photojournalistby trade, Carter also announced a book contract with Hong Kong publisher Blacksmith Books, who will release the author's stunning photos in a compact souvenir-sized volume entitled CHINA: Portrait of a People. Remarked publisher Pete Spurrier: "Living and travelling in China can be a challenge for foreigners, and yet Tom has single-handedly and strikingly photographed almost every aspect of humanity in the PRC. This book is a must-have for tourists, expats, photo enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in what today's China is really like."
"Some would like to present an air-brushed version of China to the outside world," Spurrier added. "Tom's pictures show China like it really is - and the natural warmth of the Chinese people shines through in every frame."