1933, a maze of amazingly original architecture, flying bridges, spiral staircases, dimly lit corridors, an eerie feeling of disorientation, and a must location to challenge any aspiring photographer. I love returning to this building again and again, that primarily served as a cattle slaughterhouse after its construction in 1933 in Hongkou, later a cold storage facility, and a medicine factory among other uses; it now hosts creative spaces, restaurants and shops as well as a few bewildered photographers. The possibilities here are endless to create, dream and compose.
In today’s world, pollution is discussed in terms like high or low, toxic or just unhealthy, almost accepting it as a part of everyday life and forgetting to ask the basic question: why do we have to live with it?
Our most vivid memories come from events in our life that leave a big mark. I wonder how much this little girl will remember about having to move with her family from the neighbourhood of narrow lanes they have lived in for generations. She and her family happened to live in on of the condemned neighborhoods of Shanghai that are disappearing one after the other to give way to modern buildings, sky scrapers, malls, and large roads. The residents are being moved to other residential areas outside of Shanghai. I visited one of these neighbourhoods in Shanghai’s Hongkou area and walked through the alleys for a couple of hours watching the daily life of people who will need to make a huge adjustment in their daily routine only weeks from now. Imagine having to do that and having no say in the choice of your new home, your new neighbor, your new life… but Shanghai is a relentless growing machine that has no plans of stopping anytime soon. I wonder when old and charming Shanghai alleys will completely cease to exist…
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
– Albert Einstein
My biggest fear in life is if I were to one day lose the awe of being alive. If that were ever to happen then life would brutally change from the rich multidimensional wonder that it is, to a flat world like that of ‘Flatland’ by Edwin Abbott Abbott.
This photo was taken this morning at the wonderful ‘1933’ building in Shanghai’s Hongkou district. A wonder in art deco architecture and completed in 1933 by a British architect, it still stands in full magnificence of light, shadow, motifs, bridges, and unique design elements. Once an abattoir (slaughterhouse), this gem of a building restored from the communist Era of Shanghai is a must see if you are in Shanghai.