A place that still echoes with the steps of a history gone by, but still is.
Visiting the city we called home for almost 12 years is nothing short of strange at first. But within a day or two I felt the streets call me back with their charm, unique flair and warmth of the people. So little of the old city is left as the large construction projects drive forward leaving bits and pieces of the beautiful old alleys around the city. As I walk around and find huge empty lots and big buildings on the sites of my favorite alleys, I realize that all my photography over the years in Shanghai has been about recording history and vanishing alleys that are never to come back again…
Shanghai never fails to surprise you. As a photographer living in this city, you can never be at a loss for impressions. Even time travel is possible if you are willing to go out of your way to visit the film park in Songjiang. Every time I went there I was able to capture a fantastically surreal film set where time stops and life is reenacted to show a sense of times gone by. And where else in the world can you just walk up to the set and photograph it?
I love Shanghai ❤
Lanterns adorned with ancient poems, lights in the sky, colorful decorations, bright smiles, ever-growing crowds; this is the lantern festival in Shanghai’s Yu Gardens. Every year I keep going back simply to be with the joy of this special happening, celebrating the start of Chinese spring under a big full moon. How dull would life be without ceremony…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.