The title of Liu Ke's work “Still Lake” derives from a poem by Mao ZeDong. The poem imagines still waters rising behind what we now interpret as the Three Gorges Dam Project, one of the greatest civil engineering works in history. Liu Ke has photographed the region affected by the dam along the banks of the Yangtse River and around Chongqing, questioning the price paid by the people living in the region.
At first sight Liu Ke's work is calm and undemonstrative. We feel the alienation of people in everyday life in China, and specifically in the “Fog City” of Chongqing, also known as one of the “three Furnaces” of China for its intense summers. Extremes of heat and cold, dirt and noise oppress everyday life around the vast building sites. Then, rather surprisingly, the photographer picks out an absurdity and some beauty amid the chaos. We now see the people's resilience and Liu Ke's sympathy and love for his fellow countrymen.