Gloria Dawson from Quartz writes:
Ever since Stephen Wilkes wrangled his way into a a school trip to China in 1978 the country has been on his mind. At the time, he remembers everyone in China rode bikes, and the only colors he saw were the greens and blues of the military-style uniforms that most people wore.
In 1978 Wilkes was a college student in the US at Syracuse University in New York, studying at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The trip was planned for another school at the University, but Wilkes convinced the powers-that-be that the historic journey needed to be documented. It was two years after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the cultural revolution. Wilkes was brought along as a photographer.