800 Million Farmers was a long term photo-essay that foccused upon a single farming village in Guangdong Province, southern China between 1999 -2003.
Despite the Province being described as the powerhouse for Chinese economic growth and cited as the most properous Chinese Province the farmers lived in the most rudimentary fashion.
They tilled the land using wooden ploughs and oxen, drew water from a well and washed their closthes in the village pond. Electricity was a luxury and the elderly worked in the fields until they were physically unable. There was virtually no social care.
The farmers were harrassed by officials, often related to the enforcement of the One Child Policy, or due to heavy government taxes upon the food that they grew.
A common practice, especially among young women, was to commit suicide by drinking insecticide. The grandfather of one motherless children told me, after several visits, that his daughter-in-law had died from the poison.
Despite the hardship, the farmers, all believed that better days were ahead, since they had seen far worse days in their past when there was not enough food.
The project was shot with a mix of 35 mm film and a Hasselblad 500c and hand printed.