In southwestern China lies Yunnan Province. The northwestern corner of Yunnan has a landscape of towering peaks, twisting river canyons and sacred sites, and is renowned for its distinctive plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. It is also home to 15 of Yunnan's 24 officially recognized ethnic minorities, who have farmed here for many generations and who continue to practice many traditions lost elsewhere.
These photographs were produced by Yunnan villagers themselves. The Photovoice Project provided them with cameras, enabling them to use a combination of photography and story-telling to document the natural environment, long-standing customs and beliefs, as well as more recent changes to their lives.
The region is currently being transformed by the Yunnan Great Rivers Project, which is a collaborative effort of the Chinese government and The Nature Conservancy to preserve biological and cultural diversity in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province. Environmental conservation and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods promise to safeguard the landscape. At the same time, the lives of the 3 million people who inhabit the region are being altered by regulations on fishing and land use, new crops and agricultural techniques, the shift to alternative forms of energy, and tourism.