Against a backdrop of permanence, water is the reminder that all things pass away, only to reemerge in another form.
Living Yangtze transports us through China, following the primordial river that has nourished a civilization from time immemorial, the Yangtze River. In an era where technology is seen as the answer instead of a tool, wisdom is found in the minimalistic know how and ancient practices of people who continue to live in simple harmony with themselves and the land.
Starting from Shanghai and finishing at the Geladangdong Massif, the source of the Yangtze, Eric travelled over 30,000 kilometers in total, scaled from 0 to 6,000 meters above sea level over 6 long months. With a small, dedicated team in tow, Eric’s focus was on capturing the heartbeat of people and tracing the pulse of the river through their eyes. Eric’s stories, his short poignant films and photographs bring his experiences in China to life, culminating in the multi-media experience that is Living Yangtze.
Living Yangtze was inspired by the Swarovski Waterschool, a not-for-profit organization which has been working in the Yangtze Basin since 2008. The Shangri-La Institute is the Swarovski Waterschool’s partner on the ground in China and has reached over 13,600 children in over 56 schools, providing curriculums with practical lessons on how to create and maintain a clean river.
Water has always been a key element in the production of Swarovski crystal, but it also runs through the company’s culture and philosophy. Eric Valli and Swarovski share a common belief; that through local action and through empowering local populations with art, education and through beauty, great shifts are not only possible—but a working reality.
ABOUT ERIC VALLI
Renowned photographer and film director Eric Valli was born in 1952 in Dijon, eastern France. Originally trained as a cabinet maker, Valli instead has focused his career on sharing the relationship between man and nature.
Since 1981 Eric has captured on camera some of the most inaccessible locations in the world, working for National Geographic, Life, GEO, Paris Match, Stern and Smithsonian magazines, and The Sunday Times of London. He often spends months or years, learning the language, doing the work, and living the tough life of his subjects. They see him for what he is; a man intent on faithfully recording the beauty, dignity and highly evolved customs of their everyday life.
Comfortable working in still photography or film, documentary or dramatic features, multimedia exhibitions or books, Eric is a master storyteller. He has made a stunning career of showing us our primal relationship with the earth, and the origins of our culture.