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The story behind that picture: "The Chinese Empire"

By: Thorsten Overgaard


Last week I visited Shanghai for a few days. I have heard a lot about that town, mainly that every time you revisit, it looks different.

So you have to take in what you see. You can feel this is an evolving project, and that Shanghai isn't what it used to be, nor is it what it will become.

It has the overwhelming number of people you would meet in India, the grey feel of East Berlin reluctantly letting go of the pas, the buzz of Neu Reiche Russians visiting a London Louis Vuitton store, but mainly you see how nothing would prevent this place to be the new USA in just a few years.

After a few days you realize that Facebook and Twitter are not banned for censure, but because the Chinese wants to do their own things - and that when they do, the numbes are so much bigger than what we in the West consider worldwide. It's impressive and has to change your self understanding, yet scary that you face a nation of som many millions whos main talent seem to be the ability and willingness to copy every idea of the West.

The future of China occupied with "cooking" outside their parents restaurant.

No matter system change and all, it's the people that make a nation.

Shanghai, November 2011. Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 150 ISO.

Painting the wings of crickets so they produce a better sound. These are being sold in small plastic tubes with holes so one can keep them as toys and enjoy their sound.

Shanghai street life as you may believe it looks like. What you don't see in this picture is the overwhelming amount of Starbucks and other Western chains present in the Shanghai street picture.

Everything is big and multiple, and you often sense that what has been built is just temporary and will soon be replaced by the real thing ...

The center of Shanghai as seen from a roof terrace owned by the Rosevelt family. This is where Mission Impossible III was made when Tom Cruise jumped from one roof to another. Here it is Tola Chin Jr photographing it.



Thorsten Overgaard, October 31, 2011



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Above: Chinese street life in Shanghai, October 2011. Leica M9 with 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.







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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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