Zhang Xiaowu grew up and has lived his whole life in Rui’an, where he works as a full-time art teacher and a part-time documentary photographer. Located in China’s eastern coastal Zhejiang province, Rui’an used to be predominantly rural. In 1987, as the Reform and Opening policy was taking hold, China’s State Council redesignated the county a “county-level city.” In the years since, consecutive waves of rapid urbanization have swept through the area. Industrial and commercial projects gobbled up farmland. And Zhang, born in 1972, witnessed it all.

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