In China, Li Ju, an amateur photographer, became fascinated by the expedition and went looking for the original sites of Clark's photographs. He is also a member of the Great Wall Society, an NGO that studies and protects the Great Wall, which stretches in a vast sweep between northern China and the Mongolian steppes. (Clark's route runs just south of the wall and comes within sight of it at least once.)
Li has now published two books of contemporary photographs, and the Clark hosts an exhibit, "Then and Now," pairing Li's images with their 100-year-old counterparts.
The exhibit will remain in place at the Stone Hill Center through Sept. 16.
"As I traced this route, lingering questions motivated me onwards: ... What has happened to these landscapes recorded in the old images? After wars and turmoil, natural disasters and famine, how have the lives of the people in these places changed? What about the fate of the exquisite historical relics? Are wild animals still living in these areas?" Li, who could not be reached before press time, wrote in an essay to introduce his exhibit.
"Sometimes he thought he would never find the right place," said Clark senior curator Richard Rand, who has talked with Li about his three trips along the Loess Plateau.
Some times a building had changed or vanished, Rand said; sometimes a city had grown up around it. Sometimes Li could only measure where a Clark might have stood by the curve of the hills on the horizon.
What: Dr. Lillian Lan-ying Tseng speaks on 'Ancient Chinese Objects in a Global Context'
When: Sunday at 3 p.m.
Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., September to June
Where: Clark Art Institute, 225 South St., Williamstown
Admission: $15 for adults through Oct. 31