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one of its last days...

Posted by
hugo poon (hong kong, Hong Kong) on 12 December 2009 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

Blocks after blocks in the city centre of Shanghai are being bulldozed to make way for developments of modern skyscrapers. As for this ruins like building, whether its last occupants are refusing to leave or waiting "patiently" for its last day to come, I really don't know. But I was just stunned by the scene - its 'human life' has amazingly outlasted its both economic and physical life...
PS. Here's another shot in colour:

Jinan Road, Shanghai

This is a series of street scenes that I captured (or should I say, captured me) during a recent business trip to Shanghai. Every time I visit this city, I just get more astonished by the pace and scale of change.

FUJIFILM FinePix F200EXR 1/120 second F/3.3 ISO 100 7 mm

I do not regard myself as a photographer. I'm an ordinary man but extraordinarily obsessed with capturing all the memorable scenes that I encounter in my everyday life. It's like an excited traveller craving to record his memorable journey in a memorable way, but in my case, it's the journey of my life ... If I can record my encounters in such a way that they leave an image on the mind of myself and other viewers, it's a tremendous joy and some accomplishment...
In terms of photography, I'm trying to preserve the moments as my eyes see "something" and my heart feels it too. As such, I seldom feel interested in planned, arranged or manipulated photographs...

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Great and terrible document, Hugo. I think I can feel the anguish of these people.

12 Dec 2009 8:14am

GJC from Kyoto (京都), Japan

Thanks for this. I, too, value the historical and while I'm just as eager as any for modern convenience, there is much to be learned from the past, but which is threatened with being swept away and all the dreams and the LIFE that made those buildings is also swept away without any care.

12 Dec 2009 8:54am

António Pires from Lisbon, Portugal

Amazing view of people still playing as if nothing will change. The sepia tonality is rather appropriate.

12 Dec 2009 9:56am

jeanclaude from st mande 94160, France

great shot well done

12 Dec 2009 11:10am

mo.langel from Courtelary, Switzerland

Excellent document! Great shot!

12 Dec 2009 1:13pm

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

Incredible documentary Hugo. Indeed, it is amazing how some hang on until the bitter end, if that is the case. It's a shame though, all the older structures being replaces by steel and glass monsters.

12 Dec 2009 1:56pm

steve from Liverpool, United Kingdom

Its ironic that the gent in the foreground is using just about enough "equipment" to hold himself up and get through life with his crutches and bicycle, which he obviously can't pedal, as the building is being held up ..........................
Too me its the disabled gent in the picture that gives it that punctum. Absolutely brilliant


12 Dec 2009 5:48pm

@steve: Thanks so much for looking into the pic! I was shocked when he trudged along... pulled out my little cam just in time to take the shot!

yz from Hungary

fantastic capture, the 'last supper' in a different way

12 Dec 2009 6:01pm

Ian Smith from London, United Kingdom

An interesting topic, and I do look forward to the series. I think I prefer the colour version, as I'm not keen on the pale tones you have used (But that's just my personal taste). Have a great weekend!

12 Dec 2009 7:27pm

@Ian Smith: FYI, this was actually shot in monotone (using the camera sepia mode)... As you know, this is what I'll usually do when the scene "appears" b&w in my mind's eye. I must add that I like the colour capture as well but it's the gent in this pic that has made it unforgettable to me (see Steve's comments above). Have a happy Sunday Ian!:-)

ordinaryimages from Kentucky Bluegrass, United States

Welcome home...dear! best...jerry

12 Dec 2009 7:51pm

RPepper from Brooklyn, United States

Absolutely incredible. Seriously one of my favorite photographs. You captured so much. Love its color partner too.

13 Dec 2009 1:38am

Joan Felix from Jakarta, Indonesia

Great moment , the people, the building.. Perfect time.. Great SHot

13 Dec 2009 2:13am

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

Stunning shot! I understand lots of people are being thus dislocated in Shanghai and other booming cities. The color image is great too.

13 Dec 2009 3:54am

Pavan Kaul from Mumbai, India

A very sentimental document of our times and the conditions some of our under-privileged live in! A great image...I like the treatment very much Hugo!

13 Dec 2009 7:12am

olivier Paillet from toulouse, France

Amazing Hugo !! A very " humanist " shot !!! Love it very much !!

13 Dec 2009 5:08pm

Stephen Phillips from San Francisco, United States

This is excellent photojournalism, Hugo. Looking at both - I applaud the choice of B&W in the posting - it seems to fit the sadness and drama of the story. The human heart wonders - what is to become of these people? Folks who have climbed those stairs - stared at those wall for - probably - most of their lives.

13 Dec 2009 5:58pm

k@ from Paris, France

What an image, Hugo ! Of course i prefer the sepia one, so much more mood (for me, of course) and time stories (old times from the Past and the old time this one will soon join !), and the whole scene is terrific, about to collapse, a whole world that is ! And look at that man riding a bicycle and a crutch at the same time ! He's such a strong human metaphor of what is going on around, isn't he ? Demolition, reconstruction (personal sighs here.........), all this talk to my heart and i'll follow this serie... well, with the same interest as always at your so human place, my friend***

13 Dec 2009 9:01pm

Michael from Shell Village, United Kingdom

As I often say; our future is decided for us. The developers want this land so people must leave their homes. The image is a perfect record Hugo.

13 Dec 2009 11:13pm

Ben from Lyon, France

Lovely !

14 Dec 2009 3:07pm

dj.tigersprout from New York City, United States

simply amazing reportage here Hugo -- and the processing is sheer brilliance!!! powerful and very evokative!!! i love this -- 5 stars!!!

14 Dec 2009 4:30pm

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

timeless shot ! I love the sepia tones and the mood !

16 Dec 2009 8:43pm

Dinu from India

1. I like those sepia tones somehow, even from my young age.

2. Torn buildings apart, I loved the idea that old man on the bicycle using the wheels to save energy. He can *walk* using his vehicle there! Very creative!

3. Beautiful composition.

17 Dec 2009 4:07pm

Bettina from Los Angeles, United States

This is fantastic. I love the entire image as stacked and busy with great action and movement and processed in this wonderful tone.

19 Jun 2010 3:14pm

1/120 second
ISO 100
7 mm