Shanghai through the lens of Tim Franco and others

Forgot where I came across a Tim Franco reference/link but it must have been about his Metamorpolis project in which he documents the rise of Chongqing, the world’s fastest growing and least known metropolis. Mr. Franco is based in Shanghai, and has a history of a decade engaging with the country.

He seems to have found his niche. And does well, as the commercial work on his site shows. Well enough to have time to pursue his personal interests. I liked his older Shanghai work a lot. His videos that is. Time lapse that adds to the visual experience rather than just displaying slick technique, and ensuring a soundscape that you’ll remember. Both of the below are 5 years old.

As an aside, this is the second time within a week I come across Pearl Jam. Apparently David Foster Wallace  was a big fan, and now Mr. Franco.  Music has a strong generational aspect to it. Whatever shit you grow up with becomes part of you. Some generations are luckier than others.

Many other views on Shanghai are possible, the most different probably being through the rose-tinted nostalgic lens:

“Shikumen Aromas” brings Luo Xixian’s food memories together, highlighted by mantou(馒头, steamed bun), youdunzi (油墩子, deep fried cake filled with shredded radish and shengjian (生煎, pan-fried dumpling filled with pork). source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/feature/ideal/Only-a-local-can-capture-such-details/shdaily.shtml

“Shikumen Aromas” brings Luo Xixian’s food memories together, highlighted by mantou(馒头, steamed bun), youdunzi (油墩子, deep fried cake filled with shredded radish and shengjian (生煎, pan-fried dumpling filled with pork).
source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/feature/ideal/Only-a-local-can-capture-such-details/shdaily.shtml

But it is telling one needs to go to another art form to really break new ground. A beautiful illustration of that is this photograph (not his): the image is very much within the Tim Franco aesthetic, but the drawing within it transcends it.

The words on the wall are from a Tang dynasty poem that reads, “Last night l heard a sound of wind and rain. How many blossoms have fallen again.”(Weibo/nanfangdushibao) source: http://qz.com/333147/this-poetic-street-art-paying-homage-to-old-shanghai-is-being-erased-by-government-bureaucrats/

The words on the wall are from a Tang dynasty poem that reads, “Last night l heard a sound of wind and rain. How many blossoms have fallen again.”(Weibo/nanfangdushibao)
source: http://qz.com/333147/this-poetic-street-art-paying-homage-to-old-shanghai-is-being-erased-by-government-bureaucrats/

Accomplishing this using the camera can only be done by a very literal shift of perspective: have a look at some of the street photography of this Brazilian girl:

© Thatiana Terra China: The hidden beauty of Shanghai streets (Part 2) – Street life and food at Zhoujiazui area (17) source: https://neverclipmywings.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/china-the-hidden-beauty-of-shanghai-streets-part-3/

© Thatiana Terra
China: The hidden beauty of Shanghai streets (Part 2) – Street life and food at Zhoujiazui area (17)
source: https://neverclipmywings.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/china-the-hidden-beauty-of-shanghai-streets-part-3/

Let me end with another Tim Franco video, about a Shanghai that is not mine at all, but figures prominently in its status as a cool city for millennials.

About roger henke

Still figuring out the story line that would satisfy myself here. Listening to what my family and friends evoke, what the words I absorb, the images that move me, the movements that still me, point to.
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One Response to Shanghai through the lens of Tim Franco and others

  1. Pingback: China, foreign pundits, can it be otherwise? reblogging James Palmer | roger henke's fancies

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