Daily Inspiration #893, Shanghai
By Frank Fellenberg
Dear Brandon and Steve,
With this post I like to share some night images with you and the readers of your fantastic website of the city where I live and work since the past 12 years – Shanghai (after moving here from my hometown Berlin).
Describing this city from outside would sound like “modern”, “crowded”, “use your elbows to get along”, “ever changing”, “dirty”, “ugly”, “noisy” and so on. All stereotypes that we know of a modern asian metropolis. The point lies in shifting your focus from the (unfortunately quite obvious) downsides to the interesting and beautiful sites and moments that exists at the same time.
For me, each city develops a special magic after dawn when the city lights emerge and the play of light and shadow begins. Combine that with an interesting location and I easily get lost in time, spending the night wandering around chasing the secret of this place.
For this post I picked images from a place with a somehow eery history. It is the former slaughterhouse located in Shanghai’s Hongkou district, built in 1933. From the 1970’s till 2000 it served as a medicine factory and was left abandoned for some years (which would have been an interesting place to visit at that time). Over the past years it now turned into a cultural center, offering fashionable creative office spaces, fancy restaurants and the Ferrari Club Shanghai (which I will leave uncommented).
However, the basic character of this building remains intact and tells the story of its past till today – frozen in its mesmerizing concrete structure.
All pictures below were taken in the late evening just before closure with a Leica M9 and a CV 21/4mm Color Skopar on a mini Manfrotto tripod.
There is a small creek flowing through this area. The surroundings haven’t changed much as well, which adds to an authentic impression. Looking at the red light in the left window above I could not help by thinking at “Roxanne” by The Police. Seems at that day she had to put on her red light.
This shot from the insides gives an impression of the sophisticated design of the interior. The are many ramps for the livestock to enter the upper area and the number of small staircases around that building makes you feel dizzy. It’s common to get lost inside there, but since the area is quite compact you’ll always find your way out.
There is a big deck on the top which grants a quite spectacular view to the surrounding living area. I always feel like a passenger on a big steamer looking down on a sea of rooftops. Who knows for how long this view will survive the hunger for space of this ever-growing city?
The concrete structure of the inside reminds me of scenes from the german 1920’s movie “Metropolis”. Very expressionistic.
Moving to black&white images will make this area almost get lost in time. A bit more careful editing (by avoiding the banners on the lamp posts and the cars) and one will have a hard time guessing the year this picture was taken.
I hope you enjoyed this little stroll into the old Shanghai. With Brandon’s support I might post more of this kind – I feel these old and thus interesting faces of Shanghai will vanish over the years, leaving us with one more shiny and faceless metropolis which we have already too many of.
You can see more imagines of Shanghai (and other cities around the world) on my website www.frankfellenberg.com and my Flickr page www.flickr.com/photos/leicat.
Thanks for your time – comments welcome!