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Photo Exhibition: Shanghai Living

By Brad Ferguson, via
Brad writes:

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 poor, he presents his work without editorializing. Every photo could stand alone as a candid family portrait, and taken as a whole the exibit allows visitors to draw their own conclusions.


Li You (Shanghai, Corporate Staff) I work in a foreign company. The daily work is full of stress and business. After work, I come back home and want to do nothing at all. I may spend two hours in the bathtub for relaxation, or watch a movie. I am also a part-time Internet writer.


We Yu Fang (Shandong, Vendor) We have miserable life. Battercake and salted vegetable for every meal, accompanied by plain water. When the kids cry for meat dishes, I just cook an egg. As long as it is not rainy, I go out and do my business 15 or 16 hours a day, getting up very early and back home very late. I hope the kids can be good at their study. Even with debts, I will send them to college, no as illiterate as I am. My oldest son works very hard and always brings back awards every semester, which makes my so happy. Some evil people often spite me on my fruit stall, and it makes me really sad.

For more pictures and stories, visit

October 2005

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