Charlotte Temple began her work in China over thirty years ago. The country was entering the modern era, and it was clear that change would be rapid.
In the mid-eighties, Shanghai and Beijing were showing signs of modernity. However, by traveling west one hundred miles one could feel as if time had rewound by a century. A journey of a thousand miles could transport Charlotte into communities living as close to the land as they had a thousand years before. There she found farmers working the ancient terraces of their ancestors or small patches of land given to their families under the reforms of Deng Xiaoping.
Fascinated by the beauty and contradictions of the country, she began this photographic project.
She aims to document both the disappearing rural cultures and the changes that have marked them. She continues this work today.
Morris Arboretum’s modern plant exploration and research efforts in China cover a similar period of time. Our work studying plants and preserving diversity complements Charlotte’s goals for her project. Charlotte became a friend of Morris Arboretum after joining a tour with Paul Meyer and others from the Arboretum in 1995.
Charlotte graduated with an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. While much of her archive is in medium format film, her work for the last decade has been digital. She prints her work using archival ultrachrome inks on a variety of fine art papers.
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Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.