From Photolucida jurors:
A big congratulations from all of us here at Photolucida! Your images made it to the Top 200 and will be moving on to the final phase of Critical Mass. If you are not on the list, please know that your work was seen and appreciated by a great group of pre-screening jurors. Thank you for doing the work, putting it out there, and being part of this great community!
It is the second year in a row that my images have been selected to the Top 200, with last year being selected as Top 50. The aim of Critical Mass is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today. Critical Mass is about exposure, connection, and community – as well as some very notable awards!
What is my new project about: I am Yi (see more images)

Why care about remote cultures, their living conditions, and their customs? Is it nostalgia? “Is it a humanitarian impulse to use pictures to educate and change the world, not just to record”?

The Yi are the poorest Chinese minority living in the remote mountains of the Sichuan province. They strive to survive, to support each other and to protect their culture from modernization. Education, perceived as a disruption, is a path to a “better life”, but offered only to the eldest two children. The large number of younger children simply take care of their siblings. Their future, bleak at best, can rapidly take a turn for the worst.

What seem uncontrollable changes of the world we live in are magnified by their isolation. Environmental disaster, such as the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, which killed 69,000 people, changed the dynamic of the region to either abandonment or on the contrary to “build up” for commercialization. The Yi are proud of who they are and changes to their lifestyle make them homesick.

Are their stories and situations unique? They may or may not be, but they are real. Spending time traveling thru their land, you are on an emotional roller coaster, ranging from rejection, to resentment, to intrusion. The acceptance seldom felt, reminds us that changes in life are hard to accept, that the understanding of each other’s genuine feelings takes time and should prevail over commercial cynicism.

Do their struggles invite us to remember our past, to draw parallels to the changes of our modern society? History repeats, but is forgotten until visible in front of our eyes and soul. I felt I travelled thru time and found a piece of my own history. I cared about the people I photographed, perhaps anticipating what would be next for them.

Are we Yi in our own world?