Bearing Witness to the China Story
In 1993, Fritz Hoffmann was a young American photojournalist ready for a new adventure. He had honed his picture-making skills while hitchhiking across the Pacific Northwest, harvesting crabs in Alaska, and working at newspapers in West Virginia and Tennessee. From a base in Nashville, he first became a breaking news photographer, covering events like the Oklahoma City bombing for Newsweek. Though business was booming, Hoffmann "loathed the media scrum" this work entailed. He shared his craving for something more with his agent as a TV in her New York office droned in the background. It was a story that featured then-President Bill Clinton discussing trade with China. "Go to China," Hoffmann's agent suggested. "That'll be a story you can photograph for a long time."