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Disappearing Shanghai

Friday, 28 September, 2012

“This is a story that sounds familiar, that we think we know or can imagine: old houses torn down for luxury malls, ordinary people poorly compensated, an intimate way of life replaced by highways and high-rises. All of this is happening in Shanghai — and dozens of cities across China and around the world–but it’s not how Howard French and Qiu Xiaolong tell it in their unusual new book of photographs, poems, and essays, Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life. We get no clichéd pictures of a beggar in front of a Louis Vuitton mural, no workers looking uncomprehendingly at a Bentley pulling into a five-star whatever. Instead we are thrust deeply into ordinary people’s lives, into their tiny living rooms with moldy walls and faded curtains. We see them living out on streets of cracked sidewalks and crumbling facades. We watch them sitting and waiting in poses of leisure. The transience and decay tells us that all this is vanishing.”

That’s from “Shanghai: The Vigor in the Decay” by Ian Johnson in the NYR blog. The book, Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life, is published by Homa & Sekey Books.

Disappearing Shanghai


Filed in: China, Photos, Writing • Tags: , , ,

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