Today’s Favorite Photograph for 2013 is by contemporary Cleveland-based photographer Linda Butler. It is entitled “Pig on a Motorcycle, Niehe, 2001.” A farmer is taking his pig to market and has stopped at a local restaurant. The pig sleeps “happily” on the back of the motorcycle. He is in a stupor because he has been fed fermented mash. Unfortunately, we cannot say that no pigs were harmed in the production of this photograph, but at least it is not the photographer’s fault.
“Pig on a motor cycle” is part of Ms. Butler’s wonderful and important project Yangtze Remembered: The River Beneath the Lake. I have spoken about Butler’s work and this project before. It documents village life in the Three Gorges region of China, before it was completely inundated to provide hydroelectric power for modern China. As such it is a tale of two China’s: the old and timeless China and the new modern China.
Yangtze Remembered: The River Beneath the Lake is just part of Ms. Butler wonderful opus. She is, perhaps, best known for her work “Inner Light, The Shaker Legacy.” I highly recommend exploring her website and, in particular, her extraordinary photographs of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, “Meditations on an Altered World, 2005-6,” and “Death of a Farm, Georgetown, KY, 1986.” These series are haunting in their lack of people, but just the same the human presence is so palpable.