Visually documenting China’s green energy push

Stacks of waste paper outside a paper mill in Boxing. Nov. 11, 2010. Photo: Toby Smith

The New York Times‘ lens blog features work by the photojournalist Toby Smith, who for the past three years has been documenting energy production, and particularly alternative energy production, in China.

“When China made its 12th five-year economic plan last year, they put an emphasis on pedaling back their reliance on coal and simultaneously upping their usage of renewable energy and also investing in new technologies,” [Smith] said. “So, I researched some of the traditional polluting sites across China and looked at where they were deploying renewable energy in the harshest and most unwelcoming environments. I also found specific examples of new technology being deployed.”

Smith’s photographs are of sites not typically accessible to Western photojournalists.  But he has worked on other sensitive projects, including nuclear power plants and waste storage facilities, and has become adept at gaining the trust of the companies whose sites he photographs.

The lens blog features 19 of Smith’s photographs.  You can see more of his work at his own site: shootunit.com

QI'AN, CHINA - NOVEMBER 16, 2010 An isolated shepherd's hut on the frozen plains of Inner Mongolia. (Photo by Toby Smith)

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