Visions of China

China is the topic here - in Hennie Schaper's own words: "China is a wonderful country which I've visited over a dozen times. Mainly Shanghai (my wife's place of birth), but also Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Fushun, and Hangzhou. Unfortunately most of these visits were before I got interested in photography, so apart from an occasional Beijing shot, this will be all about Shanghai for the time being. But who knows what the future will bring." Comments are by the photographer, clicking the images will lead you to the corresponding Flickr page. The link for the theme photograph can be found here.

One of many shots that I took in Shanghai's Fuxing park, also known as the French park. A place in the old city centre where locals come to enjoy themselves.

A Shanghai street scene that is far more common than you would expect - transporting large amounts of materials on a bicycle is quite common.

Shanghai's modern Pudong district seen from across the Huangpu river with the setting sun cooperating very well. In July 2009, the New York Skyscraper Museum used this photograph with my permission in their exhibition on Shanghai.

I took this photograph of my wife staring out of the window of an art studio in the centre of Shanghai. These older neighbourhoods are disappearing one by one, making way for high-rise apartment towers. The sad feeling of loss and destruction is well mirrored in this image, I think.

If I had to choose my top favourite shot, this is certainly a candidate. It is half-candid: we chanced upon a traditional Chinese wedding shoot in Beijing, and I got this one in from a different angle than the real photographer. I simply love the setting, and most of all the look of love in her eyes.

Another shot taken in Shanghai's Fuxing Park (French Park). Dozens of Shanghainese couples, typically in the 40-60 years range, dance on the streets of the park to the sound of romantic music coming from a portable CD player. As so often in China there is a grim reality behind this. Many of them have been fired from their jobs, being uneducated thanks to the disastrous Cultural Revolution policy, and now being replaced by young bright university graduates. Still, they try to enjoy life the best way they can, getting a bit of exercise at the same time.

The most touristic part of Shanghai is the Old Town, where you will find thousands of shops selling souvenirs of low value and high price. This fan merchant did not manage to sell me anything, but I came away with a good photograph instead. It made Flickr Explore and has also been used as illustration for a Shanghai special by the internet site Asian Art Museum.

Just a typical Shanghai street scene - actually shot near our Shanghai home. Transport is often improvised, and bicycles play a paramount role.

Perhaps not your standard Shanghai shot, but for the middle class locals, this is very much part of their life. A corridor of the private rooms section of a restaurant, meant for groups of around 10-20 people. We were invited to take part in a celebration by a group of artists and I managed to snap this one in-between courses.

One of the many activities one can encounter in the Fuxing park is people playing the Chinese version of chess, and this scene made for an endearing candid shot.

This shot presented itself when we left the Hangzhou style restaurant in Shanghai that we had used for dinner one evening. It receives a disproportionate amount of views as apparently a large number of people google for its title (shanghai restaurant decoration).

Now here is a shot where I am not surprised by its popularity. This was the result of a model shoot that was going on in the art district of Beijing - and I managed to take one of her as she was posing for the real photographer. One of my first shots in Flickr Explore.

This is in itself a standard shot of the Pudong skyline - but with a twist. By applying a texture, I created a shot as if this modern skyline shot were an old photograph.