Library welcomes donation of ‘Wind and Rain’ collection | Duke Kunshan University

Library welcomes donation of ‘Wind and Rain’ collection

May 31, 2019


Tom Rankin’s photographs went on display on campus in April

Duke Kunshan’s Library has accepted its first donation of photographs, taking another step toward the goal of building a world-class archive of historical and cultural works.

The images that make up “Propitious Wind and Raid: Photographs from Kunshan,” a collection by photographer and documentarian Tom Rankin, were all taken on or around the university’s campus in the fall of 2016.

Rankin, who was teaching a course on documentary film at the time, explored Kunshan’s neighborhoods by tricycle, capturing scenes with his 8x10 view camera that show “the ways in which culture, business and daily life are perpetually in negotiation with land and water.”

The collection was first displayed at the university as part of the first Water Towns Environmental Film and Arts Festival in April. It will now join the Library’s growing archive, which already includes many written materials.


Helen Xu (left), university librarian at Duke Kunshan, with visiting scholar Miguel Rojas-Sotelo and Joanna Hare, research and instruction librarian

“I’m very grateful to professor Tom Rankin for his wonderful donation. His images focus on the unique social and cultural landscape of Kunshan,” Helen Xu, university librarian at Duke Kunshan, said at a celebration on May 29 to mark the donation.

“The DKU Library is very young and we’ve just started to plan for our special collection. We’re looking at areas that could differentiate us from other libraries and are closely related to the teaching and research at Duke Kunshan.”

Rankin is director of the M.F.A. in experimental and documentary arts at Duke University and has been documenting and interpreting American culture for over 20 years. His books include the award-winning “Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta,” “Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain” and “Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible.”


“Bacheng Fishmarket,” December 2016, by Tom Rankin