“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world“ – Bruno Barbey – This book is the brainchild of 9 completely different, but equally talented individuals from all over the world who share one common passion: photography. We came together to create this project showcasing Huangpu River, one of Shanghai’s most iconic landmarks, from each of our individual perspectives. Created over several months in 2021, we started with nothing but an idea and enthusiasm for working together towards a common goal. Finally, our journey is complete and we are proud to be able to share this body of work with you. Our nationalities and approaches to photography may be different, but we all firmly believe that photography is the language through which we can share our different world views. This collaboration and album came to fruition thanks to @Photographers_Shanghai.
Over the past years, our lives were influenced by quarantine, restrictions, and uncertainty. It is a situation that the whole world is sharing and has taken a toll on personal freedoms, passions, and movements. The project evolved from the crowded subway where commuters try their best to blend in and not stand out, where personal passions and talents are hidden under a mask of indifference, to one of Shanghai’s landmarks where we let our creativity go wild and did an improvised dance performance. Hesitant, at first, it was a breath of fresh air and freedom that we desperately needed.
GOING EAST, GOING WEST
The series was taken over a breezy Thursday night, a hazy Friday afternoon, and an early Saturday morning, around the West and East Bund. The Huangpu riverside has a wonderful abundance of unexpected things: shining facades and water surfaces, the light of the rising sun overtaking the moon, or simply a group of friends fishing together, close to the fancy downtown areas. I hoped to capture the individual characters of both sides because it’s impossible to choose one over the other.
Shanghai’s night scene is full of colorful neon stories, especially the Huangpu river promenade. Once the sun goes down, Shanghai has a relaxed vibe that often feels like a completely different place than it does during the daytime so, with these images, I wanted to try and share my perspective on this multifaceted city. One of my favorite hobbies is spending time with friends who share the same passion for long-exposure street photography as I do.
In a constant yearning for exploring a never-ending city of possibilities, I will regularly carry my camera in Shanghai. I will explore different areas that reflect the contrast of a rapidly changing city full of culture and uniqueness. These characteristics are present almost everywhere, and the Huangpu River is not the exception.
GET A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF SHANGHAI
I like to go places where others don’t go and show things that people don’t usually get to see. These are two of Shanghai’s districts that preserve the industrial spirit from a period when the river was at the heart of Shanghai’s modernization effort. There are now many ports and power plants mixed with residential buildings. Sunrises there look somewhat post-apocalyptic but have their charm.
Attempting to comprehend the dynamics and pace of daily life in Shanghai, one concludes that the only constant is change. The West Bund area unites key elements that depict Shanghai’s devotion to the unrelenting march of progress. The cranes lining the riverbank are a relic of days past, days of optimism for a different life in the city. As seen today they are reduced to the industrial elements of a park, the backdrop to a landscape where residents re-energize to pursue their dreams.
UNDER THE BRIDGE
This is a two-part series exploring the interplay of simple geometric forms as they appear against a Shanghai sky that is uncharacteristically devoid of clutter. The second segment explores humans and their scale in relation to the surrounding structures. Imposing skyscrapers and metal walls encircle and confine us.
The Huangpu River is Shanghai’s mother river. The city has been evolving very quickly over the past decades. Almost everything has changed, but the Huangpu River remains the same with slight changes along its undulating banks. Lujiazui financial center sits in the newly developed, high-rise area of Shanghai, home of the former three tallest buildings in the world. It attracts many tourists who want to see the technological steel and concrete marvels. The old financial center welcomes visitors that want to experience an older period of the city. Separated by the river, the two landmarks are staring at each other from opposite banks, existing in perfect harmony.
As one of Shanghai’s most representative city symbols, Lujiazui, the symbol of Shanghai’s reform and opening up, is now one of the most attractive areas in Shanghai. The 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, the 28th anniversary of Pudong’s development and opening up... The “opening” mark on Pudong has made it the most shining road sign for China’s opening up to the outside world, and it is also an important landmark that attracts global attention. “Better city, better life” is the theme of Expo 2010 Shanghai China. After successfully holding the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, the Shanghai World Expo Museum was built. It is the only museum dedicated to the World Expo in the world thus far. It not only shows the history of the Expo to tourists, but also records the development process of human civilization. “Everything starts with the World Expo”, here, it has become a Shanghai landmark.
H U A N G P U
R I V E R
-PHOTO G RA PHE RSTheo Niculae
@theoniculae / theoniculae.com
6 - 11
Theo is a sports and action photographer who captures exceptional people doing extraordinary things. As an architect, he searches for meaning and backstories for every shape he encounters, the human body making no exception. It takes sacrifice, planning, and determination to shape a person, to become a master of your own body, and, through photography, Theo makes sure that their efforts are immortalized and celebrated.
12 - 17
Ksenia has been passionate about photography for more than ten years. Her style is street photography in its most straightforward sense: If there is a beautiful or interesting slice of reality that can tell a story, she will try to capture it.
18 - 23
Andika is an Indonesian IT specialist who finds his calmness through street photography. Shanghai’s night scene and blue hours are full of interesting and shadowy places, especially for a part-time photographer for whom night photography is a form of meditation and self-healing. This is the time when Andika likes to explore the city with his film camera and trusty tripod, taking the shots most photographers miss.
@ana_moments_photography / collectmomentsphotography.com
Having always felt curious about photography, Ana enjoys the possibility of collecting moments that will always connect to feelings, experiences, and nostalgia of cherished moments and places. She is a photography enthusiast from Mexico that loves carrying her camera wherever life has taken her and framing the moment.
@shushudzen / shushudzen.picfair.com
30 - 35
Denys found his passion in June 2018. Since then, photography has become his freedom, his way to be himself and to reflect the world the way he sees it. He likes its endless variations, possibilities, and scales. Photography is a magical means not only to freeze and relive the moments but to share them with others and make them think and feel.
36 - 41
@envy4lens / www.jenriks.com
Jens is a photography enthusiast with roots in the heart of Germany. Over the past 20 years, photography has been his faithful companion. He treats his passion as an autobiographical expression, always with an eye for unexpected beauty. His move to Shanghai in 2018 has resulted in a longing for simplicity in his photographic expression as a balance to the occasional intensity of cultural experience.
42 - 47
Josh is gripped by the experience of capturing and sharing moments of genuine candid expression. Primarily a street photographer, he approaches photography as a means of playfully revealing the unseen heart of the ordinary. Josh grew up in a small town in northern Michigan and currently resides in central Shanghai.
48 - 53
Jasmine is a 3D artist working for a Japanese gaming company in Shanghai. She loves photography and appreciates photos taken by other photographers. Ever since she started, her way of viewing and composing Shanghai from above has captured the attention of photographers who appreciate the time and effort needed to make a well-composed image. She believes that what you can only see in person is a small part of the world, but by sharing photos you can explore the world through other people’s eyes, which is a wonderful feeling, especially now.
54 - 59
Lin Jing is an award-winning photographer from Shanghai. He has practiced photography for five years and mainly shoots cityscapes, landscapes, architecture, and portraits. His passion for photography has pushed him to explore the city in many creative ways. For Lin, Shanghai represents his youthful memories, his days as a student, his hopes and dreams. Photography is his way of capturing the beauty he finds in this city.
Copyright 2022 T. Niculae, K. Popova, A. Nugraha, A. Lucero, D. Druz, J. Herrmann, J. Stanley, J. Yang, L. Jing
SHANGHAI CHINA 1 ST E D IT IO N 2022