Photo by Howard W. French
We were great fans of (now ex-)New York Times Shanghai bureau chief Howard W. French’s 2006 photo exhibit in Berlin, which documented “Disappearing Shanghai,” the alleys and homes being torn down for redevelopment back then. Now he’s ready with a sequel.
From this glimpse of Disappearing Shanghai Part Two: The Landscape Within:
With my first public showing of Disappearing Shanghai, in Berlin in 2006, I concluded the catalog essay that accompanied the images with the following invitation: “Walk these streets with me, if only through these images, and you will see something truly wonderful. Soon it will be gone.”
Much has happened since then. Indeed much has disappeared. The pace of redevelopment in Shanghai, which was already fast at the time, has accelerated greatly, as the city hurtles toward its hosting of the World Exposition in May 2010.
Some of the neighborhoods where I did my early photography have already been demolished and in some cases already rebuilt, their old inhabitants long since scattered.
Fragments of other neighborhoods barely cling to existence, meanwhile, like doomed convicts, knowing the end is near.
I returned to Shanghai last summer to re-enter this world, with a feeling I’ve had each time I’ve returned from an absence of more than a few weeks — that this was perhaps the last time.
Above is just one of the preview photos on his site. He has 35 compiled right now, which are just part of a larger edit that may make its way to our coffee tables soon. And if you want more about Howard French, check out his website and Flickr.