By: Gustav Hoiland

Mar 01 2010

Category: china

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Focal Length:135mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Black Hair

This photo is just too Chinese.  Everything about it.  The sea of black hair.  The McDonalds and KFC presence (KFC dominates in China), the Chinese flags on the right and the traditional hanging lanterns on the left.  And it’s all about shopping, for better or worse.  This is Nanjing Road, perhaps the busiest place in Shanghai.  Except for the People’s Square subway station, which is located at the Western end of the road.  It looks just like this photo, except imagine it all underground, and everybody is going 5 different directions to different trains instead of just forward/backward here.

Compositionally, about 2/3 of the photo is purely human mass.  1/3 of that is just the front row, the 10 or so people that couldn’t quite make it across before the light turned red.  Everything above the people is advertisements and other commercial stimuli.  OK not so much, but that’s how I remember it – see the top center?  That’s the very bottom tip of a multi-story neon sign.  And those are everywhere here.

Thankfully nobody in this shot was looking into my lens.  That makes the whole thing seem much less personal/nobody’s acknowledging the abnormally tall white man trying to balance on a giant stone ball, clicking off exposures like it’s his job.

Finally, I warmed up the color some, boosted the blacks (wherever there’s black, it’s black black black/no detail can be seen).

This, my friends, is New China.

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