Award-winning photographer opens in a new windowIan Teh’s latest work, opens in a new windowTRACES: dark clouds is currently on display at Harvard’s Fairbank Center as part of our opens in a new windowEnvironment in Asia series. The exhibition runs from January 15, 2017 to February 15, 2017, with a special presentation by the photographer at the Fairbank Center on January 30, 2017 at 4pm.


Tailings from a steel plant. A retired truck driver from the area tells me, “Nothing made here stays heres. Our government has exported our blue skies to the West.” Wuhai, Inner Mongolia, China. 2010

The photographs, part of an ongoing project to capture “otherworldly scenes of the Chinese industrial hinterland” as part of a story of environmental exploitation and material desires, are on display simultaneously at the Fairbank Center and Boston College.


Workers at a steel and iron plant. Steel and iron production is one of the most energy-intensive industries worldwide, its use of coal and coke as the primary fuel for production means that it has the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in any industry globally. Tonghua, China.

In partnership with the Center’s Environment in Asia series, Ian Teh will present a keynote speech at the New England Association for Asian Studies conference at Boston College from January 28-29, 2017, and then speak about TRACES: dark clouds at the Fairbank Center on Monday, January 30, with an introduction by Professor Karen Thornber.

Workers working at a coking plant

Workers working at a coking plant. The production of coke releases highly toxic substances into the atmosphere that are often carcinogenic. Workers in these industrial plants are often directly exposed to the fumes that are emitted from this industrial process. China has overtaken the US as the biggest producer of carbon dioxide, a development that will increase anxiety about its role in driving man-made global warming and will add to pressure on the world’s politicians to reach an agreement on climate change that includes the Chinese economy. Benxi, China. 2007

View the photographs on display at the exhibition, and read the photographer’s stories behind the photography series opens in a new windowon our blog.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies