Xitang~ An Old Water Town

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A  90 minute drive from the bustling Shanghai Metropolis, lies one of several old water towns where life carries on with a completely different rhythm. Water has this way of slowing things life down to a gentle meander, and it magically transforms reality into gentler ripples of dream like visions. Blue and soft in nature, it allows for a place in oneself of deep contemplation. The old walls seem as thought they are speaking to the visitors, telling tales of times that have been and predicting the tales that will inevitable come to be.

All images taken with iphone 7, edited with snapseed.

Inside the Slaughterhouse~ Shanghai

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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.

 

Qibao, Inside the Time Capsule

unbreakable friendships~ Qibao

unbreakable friendships

Time's indellible stamp~ Qibao

time’s indelible stamp

stolen sketches of a lost theater~ Qibao

stolen sketches of a lost theater

breaking ground~ Qibao

breaking ground

If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you~ Qibao

if I wanted your opinion I’d give it to you

softening the hard reality~ Qibao

softening the hard reality

who said Triad~ Qibao

who said Triad?

a controlled sea of humanity~ Qibao

a controlled sea of humanity

Hidden inside the massively dense Shanghai Metropolis is a quaint, albeit crowded small world of tradition. Bridges over water, narrow old streets, a wide variety of delicious street food and a beautiful old tea house.

In the tea house, mostly old men gather to drink tea and watch story telling theaters on a stage that echoes with ancient times.

Each time I go back there, I find the same people, doing the same things, as though they are caught in a time capsule and every day must be relived as it was the day before.

Nearby are the green lanes, where door after door girls and women offer their services for a price. Tickets to their worlds are sold on the main street of the old village.

Heartbreaking, surreal and intoxicating is Qibao.

The Endless Cycle

Looking for recyclables in city streets

Looking for recyclables in city streets

As the holidays approach fast, I dedicate my post today to those who work harder than most, who see no retirement day in their near future, and who bear the weight of life and the passing of years. They are all around us, patching up the holes in our social structure, tirelessly moving because stopping is not an option.

 

Street Portraits~ Finding Myself in the Streets of Dubai

captain of his own boat

captain of his own boat

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

the eyes that sailed the ocean

the eyes that sailed the ocean

These striking men are part of the foreign working force that powers the engine of the Dubai metropolis. They granted my eye contact and for that I am grateful.

Images taken during our last ‘finding yourself in the streets’ street photography workshop earlier this month.

Summer in the old alley~ Shanghai

smoking his way through the last hot days of summer

smoking his way through the last hot days of summer

Each time I start a new walk into one of the old alleys of Shanghai, I feel as though I am entering another world where simple life, community feeling, tradition and open communication thrive. There is a charm to the old alleys and a distinct sense of nostalgia that makes them so attractive and keeps me coming back. As long as they are there, the spirit and essence of Shanghai continue to live on.

Behind the glitzy face of Shanghai

gambling women behind barred windows

gambling women behind barred windows

residents of the old and slowly vanishing alleys

a resident of the old and slowly vanishing alleys

a witness of the whirlwind of changes that took over the glamorous city.

a witness of the whirlwind of changes that took over the glamorous city

Behind the modern facade of Shanghai and the fashionable lifestyle of its rich, is a world of tradition hidden in the city’s old alleys. Every week when I visit these neighborhoods, I find less and less of them left. The city is changing so rapidly and the new has no room for the old. Modernization is consuming tradition and Starbucks cups are quickly replacing the famous tea containers of the Shanghainese. A paradise for street photographers, I feel so lucky to have lived in Shanghai as long as I have.