In early 2004, photographer Hu Yang began documenting the lives of ordinary Shanghai residents. He originally planned to include 100 households in his survey, but over the course of the year 500 families allowed him to interview and photograph them in their homes. Unlike the New York Times‘ Faces of Shanghai slideshow, which focused on the middle class consumer culture, Shanghai Living covers Shanghai residents from a surprisingly wide range of backgrounds. From poor migrant workers to expats to billionaires, nearly all of Shanghai is represented.
While Hu Yang says he hoped to demonstrate some of Shanghai’s social problems, such as the gap between the rich and the poor, he presents his work without editorializing. Every photo could stand alone as a candid family portrait, and taken as a whole the exhibit allows visitors to draw their own conclusions.
Shanghai Living at the ShanghART H-Space Gallery, Bldg. 18, 50 Moganshan Lu (莫干山路50号). Entry: Free. Hours: 10 am-7 pm. Tel: 6359-3923. Exhibition runs from September 25 through October 30.
Photo by Hu Yang, from Shanghai Living exhibition.