From 2006 to 2007, Nadav Kander, the celebrated London-based photographer and multiple-time contributor to PLANET, traversed China’s Yangtze River documenting the rapid pace of change occurring along its banks and the effect on the Chinese people. For this impressive body of work, Kander recently won the prestigious Prix Pictet, which was awarded two weeks ago in Paris by former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan. The international award recognizes important photographic works with a focus on sustainable development and the environment. Kander’s subject, the Yangtze, is China’s most storied river, stretching from its source in the Kunlun Mountains down through the country’s southern heartland and back north again through China’s main industrial and commercial centers: Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing, and Shanghai, where its mouth opens to the East China Sea. At 4,100 miles, the Yangtze is considerably more than a river, having touched every aspect of Chinese cultural, economic, and spiritual life for over 5,000 years. For literally hundreds of millions of Chinese — more people live within a mile of its banks than in the entire United States — the Yangtze is a source of fresh water, food, energy, and is the lifeblood of a rapidly disappearing traditional way of life — in just the last decade over 3 million people have been displaced by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Kander’s work brings to light the enormous scale of change now underway, not just along the Yangtze but throughout China as it attempts to take another great leap forward, this time into the 21st century — and hopefully with less disastrous results.