The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China is the largest hydro-electric dam in the world and has prompted an extensive political debate about its effects on the environment and the people it has displaced. Since construction began in 1993, over 1.3 million people have been moved elsewhere.
Photographer Niels Stomps has tried to capture how the local population are coping with the building of this vast structure. He is fascinated by their almost contemplative attitude and is supremely successful in expressing it in his photographs. The dam itself is 2.3 kilometres long and 181 metres high at its tallest point. The reservoir behind it is 580 kilometres long and an average of 1.1 kilometres wide. It is a region of almost perpetual mist – hence the book’s title.
The dust jacket consists of thin 60gsm paper that has been folded in the American style, and this title has been printed in yellow on the inside of it, rendering it beautifully misty. As a prelude to the photographs we are given a number of statistics, printed in white ink on white paper – possibly to hint at the extent to which the colossal magnitude of the project exceeds the capacity of any human to grasp it. Interspersed between the pictures there are pages of yellow-printed PlanoScript, each with its own text statement.
One panel member wondered if Mist ought not to be seen as an art form rather than a book. The majority, however, were enthusiastic about the way designer -SYB- has ‘bookified’ Stomps’s artistic expression.