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January 16, 2010

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Shanghai's 'scenic explosion' as seen from the clouds

FOR the past 20 years, I have taken aerial photos of many beautiful cities in all kinds of small aircraft. When I look out upon cities from the clouds above, I get a very impressive perspective and I can see cities in transition.

And Shanghai is undoubtedly the most impressive city among them all. When I first took pictures of Lujiazui in Pudong, there were no skyscrapers. When I looked down from a helicopter, I saw open land that was crossed by rivers, fields where rape flowers were blossoming yellow.

In the early 1990s, I took aerial pictures when large-scale renewal and construction was being undertaken. The landmark Oriental Pearl TV and Broadcasting Tower already stood in Lujiazui by then, with empty space surrounding it.

And my latest aerial shooting expedition surprised me again when I saw Lujiazui today. It was filled with skyscrapers -- for me it was a scenic explosion.

I have worked in many cities, such as Berlin, Rotterdam and Quebec. Major transitions of such cities usually take around 100 years and require the efforts of three generations.

But I have witnessed and recorded the entire development of a new Shanghai during the past 30 years, since I first started capturing my bird's-eye views of the city at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

I am fortunate to live in Shanghai as a photographer who loves recording cities in transition. I will continue to record the legends of Shanghai with my camera, and I look forward to an aerial view of the city for the opening of World Expo 2010 that begins on May 1.

(Translated by Yao Minji)


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