Shanghai: The Vigor in the Decay

We get no clichéd pictures of a beggar in front of a Louis Vuitton mural, no workers looking uncomprehendingly at a Bentley pulling into a five-star whatever. Instead we are thrust deeply into ordinary people’s lives, into their tiny living rooms with moldy walls and faded curtains. We see them living out on streets of cracked sidewalks and crumbling facades. We watch them sitting and waiting in poses of leisure. The transience and decay tells us that all this is vanishing.

Ian Johnson has written a piece about my new book, Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life at the New York Review of Books, which I produced in collaboration with my friend, the poet Qiu Xiaolong. You can find the piece here.