Shanghai 1993 by Yang Hui Bahai

Couverture Bahai

Yang Hui, known by his artist name Bahai, was born in Shanghai. He is a photographer and painter, who graduated from the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2010, àContreVue published an album of some of Bahai’s first photos of Shanghai in 1993, with the help of roots contemporary and Bergger. The àContreVue association’s mission is to support the work of photographers who have an alternative and humanist vision of our world (read more at their blog).

Yang Hui Bahai, painter, started photography when he returned to his hometown of Shanghai in 1992, after having spent three years in France. Camera in hand, he captures the changes in a city he believed his own but no longer recognises.

Since then, he has done one black and white story after another, snapshots of daily life: the last teahouses of Zhejiang Province, popular culture and religious traditions. Every season, he leaves his studio to capture shots based on chance encounters and then brings his pictures to life in the secret of his darkroom.

This selection depicts the inhabitants of an uncompromising Shanghai… A modern young woman turning away her eyes with disdain from a display of “shanghainese chickens” or fan repairers laughing behind their bowls of rice alcohol, those faces of seventeen years ago, serious or not, each tell the story of their city. They call the changes in Chinese society into question.1

These are the photos which inspired Françoise Ged’s book, Shanghai, presented last week. To learn more about Yang Hui Bahai visit his website and online photo gallery.

Photo by Bahai. All rights reserved.

Photo by Bahai. All rights reserved.

  1. Translated from the cover of this album. []

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l'UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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