AFD (Agence Française de Développement), known in English as the French Development Agency, is a French international development agency that does a lot of good work in China (as well as in many other countries). In fact, they were the top foreign donor to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake relief effort. In commemoration of their work on the earthquake relief efforts, they commissioned a documentary to be filmed in several of the regions in Sichuan where they supplied recovery funds. As the director of photography for the documentary, I was also responsible for taking photos that would be displayed in exhibitions around China and France about the project (including one at the French Embassy in Beijing that I attended).
One of the most amazing aspects of the project that I had no previous knowledge of was the installation of biogas tanks in rural homes hit hard by the earthquake. It’s a simple idea really, but very innovative and energy efficient. Basically a big tank is installed underground, with an opening at ground level for farmers to throw in pig feces, which is available in abundance because most households in these areas raise pigs. The pig poo is left to decompose and turn into gas in the underground tank, which is then pumped into the farmers’ houses to be used for cooking and heating things. Sounds a little disgusting at first, but it actually works great and has saved these farmers a lot of money on their gas bills.
The photos below were taken throughout the location scouting and shooting process, and include pictures of people interviewed, people working with us on the project, random people in the towns we visited, and a few photos of some of the areas we visited (including a small city that had left the ruins of the earthquake devastation standing as a living museum and rebuilt the city next door… a great idea in my opinion). A number of these photos were printed and mounted for AFD exhibitions.