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BEYOND THE SEEN

FOREWORD

"When I thought about the foreword to this book, I spent an enormous time thinking about the debts of gratitude I owe to all those involved in itís publication. The list of people who through their support, encouragement and active help and hard work have made this possible is extremely long. But a longer list, is that of the unnamed and unidentified participants in my images. They are the actors in the stage of chance created by the frame, light and the shutter. It is they who have truly made the book what it is. They are a testament to the uniqueness and the wonder of China and the Chinese people. Each in his or her own way has left a part of themselves indelibly printed in this book. In years to come when time has past, they and China will have moved on, but this moment in their lives and in our eyes will be permanently with us. So even though I am eternally grateful for the incredible support of friends and family in the publication of this book, I am dedicating it to the people of China and the memory of the moment the shutter was released.


I first came to Shanghai on business in the winter of 1997. Between then and 2003, I travelled every couple of months on business and in October 2003 I moved with my family on a 3-year posting. In 2004 my daughter Freyha was born here and I took perhaps the photograph that re-ignited my passion for photography a week before she was born. At Yu Yuan (Yu Gardens) on Chinese New Years Day, a view of a city at prayer. For me, like the perspective of that photograph, I found myself in a place in between. I was an invisible observer, a witness to a way of life seen from the inside, while still being on the outside. The soft underbelly of Shanghai, the alter ego that represents the contradictions of this city and country was suddenly there before me and I realised that I was watching history in the making.


Shanghai and China grow at the speed of light. What appears the norm today, tomorrow is gone forever; the buildings the communities and the atmosphere. Only the people remain. They live their lives the best they can. They represent Chinaís last Century but also itís new Millennium. In that sense, what we choose to see is about where we want to look. To the right a skyscraper and to the left a dilapidated house. Ahead a Ferrari and behind us a Bicycle cart full of recycled plastic bottles and foam.


To understand what Shanghai and China is about requires that China in all its forms and contradictions and dichotomies is represented. That is what this book is about. It is not meant to judge or to justify how or why things are, but to record them for eternity as an invisible witness.

I believe that photography has been and will always continue to be a unique art media. No other media captures in a fraction of a second a decisive moment of human existence and records it for eternity. It is fleeting in its sight, it sees what we sometimes can not, and it allows us to ponder on that fraction of time at our leisure and for all time. That is why I love it so."


Kal Khogali (shangheye)
Night Ride
Night Ride
Rainbows in the Rain
Rainbows in the Rain
Photograffiti, Shanghai 2005
Photograffiti, Shanghai 2005
Colour Blind
Colour Blind
Room With a View,  Zhoujiajiao 2005
Room With a View, Zhoujiajiao 2005
Tradition
:: Tradition ::
Transformation
:: Transformation ::
The New
:: The New ::