Chifeng Road

By: Gustav Hoiland

Nov 04 2010

Category: china

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Aperture:f/8
Focal Length:62mm
ISO:400
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

There. Is. No. Ground.

I just enlisted my good friend google maps to help me find the name of this station, the fair Chifeng Road, just outside the gates of my university in Shanghai. While satelliting the cityscape I took a peak at the race track for remote control cars that I never did go in despite walking by it many a time, flush with curiosity. I also traced some roads in the neighborhood of my dorm, and by god if I didn’t walk/bike down every road within a mile radius of school. (Search “chifeng road, shanghai” on google maps to see the incredible density that is China’s wealthiest coastal city)

This image works because it has some incredible depth going on. And perhaps it doesn’t work because that depth isn’t immediately perceptible. The foreground dominates this with this big dark high-contrast triangle, while the rest of the image looks like these kind of distant fuzzy high rises. But there’s more!

Way on the left you’ll see that the rails never exit the frame. They curve a bit, dip some, curve some more, and disappear into a thick brown patch of detail. On the right we have the infamous Zhongshan road, or at least the elevated freeway above Zhongshan. It also curves around and gets woven into the other roads at various heights, not too unlike the top of a pie. Except it’s asphalt, and at a much larger scale. And there’s traffic on it.

Also I realized before posting that there’s no ground to be seen here. That’s because there is no ground. The high rises descend to the center of the earth. That’s how you fit ~20 million people in a city.

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