PDN Photo of the Day

Vanishing China

Vanishing China

All Photos © Ryan Pyle

On a 2006 trip, Ryan Pyle decided to focus his camera on the disappearing culture of China’s remote western Xinjiang province. He says, “The culture is vanishing before my eyes. Each time I return something is missing—a market, an old shop full of blacksmiths, a local mosque. This cultural fabric will be lost forever.” Previously named Chinese Turkestan, the Xinjiang province is bordered by the Gobi desert and some of the highest mountain ranges in the world, making this location incredibly remote.

Ryan Pyle is a Canadian born-artist. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 2001 and moved permanently to China in 2002 where he is a contributor, covering China, for the New York Times. In addition to this photographic series, Pyle has created a multimedia piece.

Reflections of mountains on a lake in a remote region of Xinjiang, China.

A young boy lifts a sheep off a truck at the Animal Market in Kashgar, China.

A woman picks cotton while holding her baby in a remote region of Xinjiang, China.

Men make deals buying, selling and trading animals at the Animal Market just outside Kashgar, China.

A woman weaves a carpet using traditional machinery at a carpet factory on the outskirts of Hotan, China.

A woman collects animal waste, which she can later use for fuel, along the border of China and Kyrgyzstan in a remote region of Xinjiang, China.

A women unloads bricks at a brick-making factory just outside Kuche, Xinjiang, China.

A cock fighting competition takes place on market day in a small village near Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.

A fully veiled woman walks along a lane way in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.

A man repairs shoes at his small shop in the old town in Kuche, Xinjiang, China.

A woman prays at the cemetery in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.

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  1. lovely images… I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them in person and the prints are stunning.. kudos to you for all your hard work and printing the work to the highest standards…

  2. Stunning images – the use of black and white and focusing in on some of the old trades and machinery makes you think you are a looking at an image from the turn of the 20th century – very clever and very dramatic !

  3. These are wonderful images – and such a great time to (political climate etc) to have taken them. I doubt most people in the West know about minority populations in China, and most people in China wouldn’t conceive of them in context like this. Brilliant.

  4. Thank you Ryan for opening this window to a different world. It’s an inspiration to other photojournalists like myself. With print magazine page count continuing its amazing David Copperfield disappearing act, I especially like the impact you achieve with the large-scale-photo-with-caption format.

  5. Why to shy away from the cultural richness and diversity? Great effort of getting the photos of people vanishing behind the Great Wall!

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