“Because China’s economy is moving so fast, the pollution is incredibly severe,” he told us Wednesday through a translation by Orville Schell at the Asia Society. “As I became aware of the pollution as China opened up the western area, I felt that people needed to know about this.”
Mr. Lu was born in 1961 in Zhejiang Province and was taking pictures before his 20th birthday, when he worked in a factory. He studied at the fine arts academy at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 1993 to 1995 and has concentrated on social and economic issues in his work since then. In 2003, his pictures of peasants in Henan Province who had been infected with HIV after selling their blood won the first prize for a story about contemporary issues from World Press Photo.
“The impact on me is very significant,” Mr. Lu said. “It confirms this work. The money will also allow me to do even better. Certainly, I’m not finished. There are many other places I have to shoot.”