Monday, January 08, 2007

changing landscapes

Back in the 1980s father and son team Xu XiXian and Xu JianRong would travel around Shanghai on the weekends taking photographs of the landscape. They have been recently revisiting those places and taking photographs to create a 'before and after' portrait of the city, collected together in their book 'Changing Shanghai'. It's a fascinating exercise as the 'economic miracle' of China is largely illustrated with skyscrapers and malls but these photographs illustrate a more subtle spectrum of change, from the radical:

to less orchestrated, more individual and piecemeal changes:

and changes that somehow preserve the past, and yet lose its spirit:

and that sometimes change is degeneration:

It's good to remember that there is this spectrum of change because there is a corresponding spectrum of experiences, one that encompasses loss and exclusion as well gain and inclusion.

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