Category Archives: People

Shanghai Photography Night

It seems like any old bum with a camera adds “photography” to their list of hobbies after living in Shanghai – guys like me, I’m a guy like me. I guess it was either that or shopping.

Anywho, while I’m busy tomorrow to go to this event it looks like a great little, free, get together featuring photographers in Shanghai. Here’s the details:

“Shanghai Photographer Night”
- a monthly cocktail party featuring unique local photographers

Wednesday, Nov.18, 2009 – 1st edition

Join us for an evening at Dada bar, with a slide show showcasing 4 local and visiting photographers, as they each show us their unique and surprising views of Shanghai. The photos will be projected on the large screen, and seating will be arranged for optimal viewing. Music will be kept at a lower volume until midnight, allowing for easy conversation and focus on the visual display. Special prices on select cocktails, wine, and beer.

This month’s photographers:
Tangting – “Delicate”
Patrick Wack – “I Build Shanghai”
Francois Trezin – “Grandma’s Drawer”
Charlie Xia – “Urban Geometry”

This event is curated by Tim Franco.

Wednesday, Nov.18, 2009
8pm-late.
FREE ENTRY.

Dada Bar, 115 Xingfu Lu, between Fahuazhen / Pingwu Lu, Shanghai.
DADA 酒吧,幸福路115号,法华镇路与平武路之间

(* If you are a photographer, and would like to participate in a
future event, please contact Tim Franco, tim@shanghaisoundbites.com.)

For this first edition, we want to bring you 4 very different
photographers that you most likely have seen around Shanghai. No
theme, no relation, just very different styles and backgrounds for
this show:

Our first guest is Charlie Xia, famous on the web for his nightlife
photography, Charlie Xia is a meticulous photographer who spends his
evening hunting the perfect urban shoots. Playing with lights, lines
and curves he is looking for impossible angles and gives us a unique
view of Shanghai urbanscapes. In this series called “urban geometry”,
Charlie is mainly taking the elevated expressway as a subject and
transforms them into urban art pieces.

Our second guest is Patrick Wack. A French photographer based in
Shanghai for 3 years, Patrick has been focusing his personal work on
portraiture, his series such as “Streetaholic” (on SmartShanghai.com)
are displaying a consistent and efficient portraiture of fashion flows
around Shanghai and other cities. In this series called “I Build
Shanghai,” Patrick is exploring the construction site of the World
Expo 2010 and gives us a unique insight into the people behind the
scenes.

Our third guest is Francois Trezin. You might have seen his name in
big fashion magazines around Shanghai through his still photography,
but before being a photographer, Francois is an artist. He uses
photography as a technical process to show us stories and ideas. In
this series called “Grandma’s Drawer” he has been meticulously looking
through his grandparents drawer for anything he could find, and then,
voluntary replace them in the drawer in a particular order. In this
organized mess, Francois is trying to create a story, looking into the
past through random objects.

Our final and main guest is Tang Ting. Tang Ting is well known for his
youth culture photography. Regularly shown in urban magazines, Tang
Ting is not only documenting the youth culture, but he is a part of
it. Traveling through the different scenes and different cities of
China, Tang Ting is mainly using basic 35mm films found at the
cheapest price and captures everything that catches his attention. In
this intimate series called “Delicate,” Tang Ting his just putting
together a series of photos around one word, one feeling, and leaving
the story to his viewers.

Photos: iTool Shanghai

It’s true, I gave in and finally got a phone from the company of Jobs. Other than the 24-7 access to e-mail and procrastination there’s also a bevvy of good photo processing apps which I’ve had fun messing with.

In no particular order here is a scrapbook of recent photos.

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Bloggers beware: dogs attack

Material for a blog in Shanghai is a pretty easy task, simply walk down the street and you’re bound to walk into some sort of funny business – whether you were searching for it or not.

And so it was a joyous occasion last week when I came across a small-ish pooch wearing a pink dress. The hilarity I was keeping inside was more than enough to fill this blog for another entry. Being a guy who appreciates privacy I asked the canine’s owners if I could take a few snaps, of which they obliged, and we made small talk about the dog’s name which was ‘small something’ – I didn’t get the second part of the name in Chinese.

Anywho, as I bent down and took out my camera to take a few pictures the pup snapped. The angry bark took me by surprise but I reacted calmly – dogs are bound to get pissed at strangers, right? I took a step back to give the dog some room but that wasn’t enough, he(or she) went for my shoes and started having a good angry gnaw.

The owner started yelling in Chinese at the dog and tried to brush it off while I tried to keep my composure – but the dog wasn’t calming down. It was at about this time I remembered reading a recent article about rabies in China – it’s not uncommon for infections to happen here. Okay, maybe not here in Shanghai, but I wasn’t really thinking of the details at this point.

I half thought of kicking the dog but that would definitely mean being barred from doggy heaven. So what I did was give my leg a shake and run for the hills. Yes, my cankles ran away as fast as they could from a dog in a skirt. A pink skirt. A pink skirt with frills.

To the dog owner’s credit he did try and call me back to say it was okay – but I wasn’t having a bar of it. Luckily the canine gave up after about 40 metres – my peak distance. Any further and I would have been done for.

I did happen to take a rather bad snap of the culprit though. Bloggers, beware:

Miniature Shanghai – Tilt Shift Time Lapse

Sometimes when people with amazing talent are jobless they can muster some seriously interesting work. Take this time lapse of Shanghai from multiple angles by a guy named Joe Nafis. Pretty cool stuff:

Amazing stuff. You can follow Joe via his Vimeo Page. Go on, give him a job so he can do more of these.

Happy National Day, China

Today is the start of a week’s holiday in China to celebrate 60 years of the People’s Republic of China and the Autumn Festival, collectively known as Golden Week. Expect fireworks. Expect parades. And expect to eat moon cakes.

For those in China, you’ll hear many people saying “Guó qìng jié kuai le” which pretty much means have a happy national holiday day. Be sure to say it back if someone says it to you. There seems to be a lot of happy faces around this week – mostly because many have the week off and get to hang out with their family and friends. People we talk to are also nationalistic and very proud of where China is in the world right now.

For us, we decided to catch the fireworks which kicked off in Century Park last night. I’ve heard there will be fireworks on the 3rd and the 6th of October as well. Tickets to get into the park are 200RMB but if you stand outside the gate of Century Park you can easily see the same view.

More from Golden week later. Happy Birthday China.

Update:To see the whole parade see the video on YouKu here. Also, here are some fantastic photos on Flickr by Shian Chen:

Update #2:Here’s a nice time-lapse of the video from the UK’s Gaurdian:

China’s 60th Anniversary national day – timelapse and slow motion – 7D and 5DmkII from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

National Day photo exhibition

To mark 60 years of the People’s Republic of China the Shanghai Exhibition Center is showing off some of the nation’s triumphs in photo form.

We accidentally came across the show while taking a shortcut though the exhibition centre grounds – many locals were lining up to get in which is usually a tell-tale sign of something good is going on. We’re not sure if were were supposed to pay but it looks like the event is actually free (Read: nobody askef for us for money).

Once inside the exhibition starts at the beginning of the People’s Republic of China back in 1949 and follows the history of the current nation in many fantastic photos.

If you’re walking past the area it’s worth popping in just to see the photos. All of the descriptions for the photos are in Chinese so if you cannot speak or read the language then it might be worth grabbing a friend who can help. Here are just a few of the pictures from the event:

Shanghai 1990 – 2009

I can’t imagine another city has seen such crazy growth as this. Perhaps Dubai.

Deng Xiaoping with Margaret Thatcher

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Chinglish vs lazy English

Chinglish, the butt of many expat bloggers in China. It’s all good and well to have a good old ‘tee hee he’ about Chinese words transmogrified into English but have you looked in your own country’s backyard lately?

Well I did recently and came across this doozy. Seriously, whoever wrote, approved, painted, and then hung this sign needs a good hard look at themselves in Sydney, Australia:

The Expat-only show

While out and about on Saturday we dropped into the Expat Show which was on all last weekend in Shanghai. What we didn’t know was that it was an expat-only affair – only some Chinese allowed.

The very idea of an expat show seems to suggest someone wants to sell their wares at a premium to the foreigners in the city – and it didn’t disappoint. Financial advisers at every turn, expensive holiday deals to flog, overpriced wines to swill, and hospitals offering premium health care and breast enlargements. Also out in force was just about every English-based media platform looking to boost their subscriptions and mingle with previously mentioned services about advertising.

Yes, that as much we expected.

What we didn’t expect was the story that only expats were allowed into the venue. The story, from a reliable source, says people on the door were screening entrants based on ethnicity and some Chinese citizens were being refused entry. This caused some issue with locals who were trying to enter – and rightly so. Expats who have been to the same event in previous years say this has happened before.

According to a sponsor the event organisers were screening people to make sure they had a “connection to the show” and weren’t just there to get the freebies or harvest the useless brochures for recycling. Essentially, people like us who were clearly there to seize as much free schwag as possible.

The difference? I’m a whitey. Whiteys are allowed to be sponges.

Another attendee allegedly saw a woman argue with a hostess on the door because she could not prove with a passport that she wasn’t actually a Chinese citizen but an expat. Meanwhile, this attendee saw (white) friends using fake aliases and weren’t even checked for ID.

To me this just doesn’t sit right at all. It screams of racial segregation and the bad old days of colonialism. But, as others have pointed out, maybe I over-reacting because the exhibitors want to make sure the ‘right’ audience get their freebies? Some exhibitors may get angry, for example, if all their pamphlets are being tossed straight to the city’s recyclers.

As a reader, I’ll let you decide what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in China. It seems moral indicators are a constantly swaying pendulum for many expats.

Before complaining about your frothy latte

One of the things that I always get embarrassed by in Shanghai is the snotty, whingey, annoying expats who act like pretentious tossers because “things aren’t that way back home”. Just the other week I was in a restaurant where a chino-clad, high-panted, middle-aged guy was yelling so much at the staff that his face was beetroot red.

The problem, of course, was that there wasn’t enough parmesan cheese on his salad. Instead of simply asking for some he proceeded to throw a tantrum and said something racist about all Chinese not knowing how to make food. The whole episode went something like this:

Tosser Expat: “What is this? There is no parmesan on my blah blah salad!”
Waitress: “Oh what salad did you have?”
Tosser Expat: “The blah blah salad! It says it comes with parmesan cheese. Where is the parmesan cheese?”
Waitress: “Let me get you a new one”
Tosser Expat: “I don’t want a new one I just want the parmesan. Do you have parmesan?”
Waitress: “Okay I’ll take it and put parmesan on it”
Tosser Expat (now yelling): “DO YOU HAVE PARMESAN? JUST BRING OUT THE PARMESAN!”
Waitress: “But I need to take it to the kitchen…”
Tosser Expat (red-faced, yelling more): “NO. I WANT TO SEE THE PARMESAN BEFORE YOU PUT IT ON THE SALAD. BRING IT OUT HERE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? CAN I SPEAK TO YOUR BOSS?”

At about this point the waitress was obviously pissed off and went to get the boss. More yelling happened and eventually the guy got his parmesan. But seriously, all over a bit of extra cheese?

I sometimes question the usefulness of such expats who fail to see that they live a relatively privileged life compared to so many uncomplaining, hard-working people – who in comparison – should have much more to complain about.