I’d like to share with everyone my completed photo journal series Liminal: A Summer In Between from 2010.
I’ve only just now put the complete works on my web site. If was from a challenging and confronting period in the wake of the all consuming GFC of 2008. I’d left my base in Shanghai for San Francisco, and then faced having to relocate back to Shanghai a year later, as a freelancer, at the same time as taking on board the welfare of my fiancee (now wife) and my kids schooling in San Francisco. Straddling Europe, the US, Australia and Asia. It seemed life and career were in limbo. Thankfully life’s moved on, as has my career. Looking back on the journal, it’s a reminder of that troubled passage. Still, that’s life, deal with it as it comes at you, and I’m grateful for having lived through it.
Just want to share with you a feature story I photographed in this month’s issue of The Australian Financial Review Magazine titled Shanghai: City in Search of a Soul.
Written by Lisa Murray, it tells the story of a city that has undergone rapid transformation and reinvention, with a vast dichotomy of inhabitants, yet, regardless of its new found wealth in many ways it’s still unsure of its direction. As Lisa writes, “Shanghai has aspirations to become the cultural capital of Asia but it’s yet to develop the arts and cultural software to match its mega-metropolis hardware”
Unfortunately, asides from buying a copy at the news store, the article is only available online to subscribers, but I attach a couple sample images here, and please visit my web site for a broader selection of photos on the feature.
So there I was, descending from the 97th floor of the 101 floor Shanghai World Financial Center. On my own with the green light …. the green light, the space age like capsule … instantly, the thought occurred to me, one of my favorite movies 2001: A Space Odyessy … man, a perfect situation to recreate the spacecraft interior in digital film: self portrait, express elevator, from 97th floor SWFC, 2013.
So, where’s HAL?
self portrait, express elevator, from 97th floor of Shanghai’s World Financial Center
Returning to China last month I shot a couple magazine features. One a commissioned shoot on contemporary Shanghai, another a story on Guangzhou’s Little Africa.
As part of a global diaspora that has come hand-in-hand with globalization, it’s estimated there are as many as 100 000 Africans living in Guangzhou, coming from all corners of the continent.
Mostly concentrated in a couple of the city’s northern suburbs of Yuexiu and Baiyun, many of the African’s are merchants trading in locally produced goods for export back to their African homelands. From several nearby trade markets, they buy products as diverse as clothing, apparel, electronics, building materials and machinery. It’s a thriving community, and one that is indirectly helping to create a merchant class back in Africa.
The combined African populous represents the largest foreign community in Guangzhou, southern China’s largest city. Though by and large while the Chinese have been largely very open and accepting, their presence has nevertheless not been without racial incident.
Please view a wider selection of images on this story on my web site at:
On a recent assignment in remote Ningxia province, my brief extended to photographing the lifestyle of the culturally diverse locals. In the provincial capital Yinchuan, girl’s still find a way of keeping up with the latest fashions, even if that inadvertently involves 70’s retro denim and elevating platformed sneakers. Everything old is new again, or so they say, in which case may be this wave will resurface full circle in the West?
I’ve just returned to Perth from a busy 6 weeks in China. After the typical intense heat and sweat of summer in the Middle Kingdom, this September and October in Shanghai were unusually mild. While there I completed filming on my short film Pop and had opportunity to shoot in remote Ningxia province for an upcoming feature in Australian Financial Review Magazine (more about that in an upcoming blog post), fly to Beijing to shoot a portrait for Boss magazine and travel to Nanjing for Forbes Asia magazine. This later commission was a cover shoot for the special edition Chinese Richest issue, I was there to shoot Zhang Jindong, Chairman of retail giant Suning, and one of China’s richest men, who is now venturing into online sales. We went to his new headquarters in an industrial park on the outskirts of Nanjing, and had use of his 17th floor office – yes, his office is the entire floor – to conduct the shoot. I chose to utilise the corridors and open spaces, capitalising on a backdrop of washed-out curtain walling for a simplistic, contemporary and uncluttered image. Following our allotted 30 minutes, we joined him for a supreme Chinese banquet lunch (no sea cucumber thankfully) on the upper floor, the top floor. After packing up our gear, we had time to get a tea at Starbuck’s in the lobby (thank God for Starbuck’s, they even have English Breakfast Tea) before heading back to Shanghai on the express tran later in the afternoon.
Next instalment I’ll talk a little about Pop. Here are a couple images from the Forbes Asia shoot.