For me the work of very good photographers is a guideline to what I may expect and want to see when I visit. Hopefully that is of interest to you. Another book I would like to recommend if you don’t mind is, “Yangtze Remembered, the River Beneath the Lake”, Standford Univ Press, 2004. This is about the area much north of where you are going, but it is a political subject that is effecting all of China. The Yangtze River or actually three rivers gorge and dam. As I understand it much of the power generated is going south and thus a political hot potato.
Linda Butler is a Cleveland 4x5 photographer. She constructed this book from eight trips over I think three years. The resulting 100 pictures became a traveling exhibit starting in the Cleveland Natural History museum, then to Boston and now in
http://www.socal.com/events/ShowEvent.aspx?eventID=2499. I believe she said that the exhibit is on a two year tour.
You can see many of the pictures on various pages of Linda’s site http://www.lindabutlerphoto.com/index.html. An interview with her was the cover story of the Februrary 2005 #56 Lenswork including many of her pictures. Amazon has her book for US$40.95.
Besides capturing the scale and transition of the construction, Linda is very sensitive to the emotions of the poor people whose lives have been so dramatically changed by this project. In that I think one can learn much of the character of the people, Linda’s sensitivity to that, and the beauty of her work.
A difficult choice, but my favorite of the exhibit was Tributary and Cliff Face, Wu Gorge, 2000 http://www.cmnh.org/pressroom/Tributarylarge.jpg. When I bought a copy I was delighted to find that Linda’s lab assistant was my classmate at Akron U.