Article – Book Review – Shanghai: A history of photographs 1842 – Today


Shanghai: A history of photographs 1842 – Today
I will admit that my knowledge of Asia is small, my knowledge of China is even slimmer, so when a chance arrived for me to learn all I could about Shanghai from a book- not just a book but a book of photographs from 1842 until now, I jumped at the chance!


Shanghai: A history of photographs is a stunning book, the first thing you notice about it is the sheer volume of the book, it’s about A3 in size and as thick as a phone book and on each page is a high quality image from the history of this poignant city. The history of which is intriguing, I have never read of a city’s history with such interest as this one, from the beginning of its creation Shanghai has been subject to invasion after invasion, slowly developing to one of the strongest and versatile landscapes in the world.

This collection tells the story through all the troubles of the city: the opium, the invasions, the Japanese the cults, images from every aspect the victories and the pain of this city exposed for all to see. Along side which it tracks a very nice path to modern Shanghai in which you see the city rising from it’s often fractured history to the metropolis it is today!

“Told through rare official archive photographs, images taken from private collections, new commissions, and co-author Liu Heung Shing’s own work, Shanghai is the definitive history of the most beautiful of China’s cities. Shanghai will be available as both hardcover and paperback” ( Quote from

My favourite image from the book, a great look at the modern Shanghai being looked onto by the traditional.

It is not surprising this book is so impressive, though considering its authors Liu Heung Shing  is an award-winning photojournalist and was the first Chinese person to win a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the collapse of the USSR. He has been named as one of the 100 most influential figures in contemporary history by Photo magazine. Karen Smith is the foremost authority on contemporary Chinese art and is an art historian, curator, and collector. And perhaps is one of the worlds most revered people within chinese fine art.

If you’re from the UK you can purchase the book here,

And from the US here.

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