Shanghai Surprise.

From the 700 photos I took on my trip to China this past summer, I've selected the ones that best evoked the spirit of my vacation in Shanghai and the south (and it's only taken me three months to do it!). Some are fashion-related, while others pertain to culture. But I think the most identifiable thing about what I've captured on film is the idiosyncratic nature of everything I encountered. Voila!

Where the city meets the sky.

I spent about a week in the heart of Shanghai, in Pudong, shopping in the Oriental by day and strolling down Nanjing Road at night. But the most interesting part of city life was people-watching. There are surprising people around every corner, from a gold-digger 20-something in leather stilettos on the arm of a plump American baby boomer smoking a cigar, to young hipsters in skinny jeans with beautiful skin and even more beautiful smiles.

Rich colours dominated fashion in the city.

Stop two: the art scene. Painters trying to "make it" in the art world sold their works in side shops in narrow neighborhoods. I was surprised that many of their styles were influenced by western impressionism and not Chinese calligraphy.

Miniature painters in the Shanghai historical museum.

A whimsical art shop in the middle of Cheng Huang Temple.

A crafts stand on the side of the street. Wonder what she's reading...?
Of course, if it weren't for the food, half of my reason for visiting this country would be lost. There's something to be mentioned about the mindset of the Chinese when they use the phrase "Have you eaten yet?" to say hello.

Delicious dim-sum and dumplings.

City romance.

As I backpacked around the eastern coast and got lost in nature and living spontaneously, there was always something that could catch the corner of my eye. A man fishing on the side of a lake and forgetting about it as he dozed off with his glasses askew; his wife fanning him during his nap. A broken bicycle left in the middle of the road. Romance under canopies of trees.

As great of a city as Shanghai was, I was glad to leave for someplace more quiet and peaceful. I spent the rest of my weeks in southern China, where street style was abundant. The following girl I photographed jumps to mind immediately when I think of the modern young generation of China.

In bloomer-esque jeans, rolled up to show flashy sandals, with a one-of-a-kind leather satchel, she evokes an intriguing type of sentiment.

And so my trip ended. I was disappointed, and nostalgic at first. But dwelling on the past isn't very practical, if comforting. More adventures to come, I'm sure.


Sartorially speaking.

The Sartorialist is whose job I'd like to steal in my next lifetime. Mostly because of his talent. Exhibit number one:

He went to Beijing a few weeks ago, and unlike most opinionated and comparably spoiled Americans, he actually took the time to comb through the streets to find the gems of the city! How clever is this outfit? There is no one who won't do a double take on this photograph. Not only does she wear prosthetically placed gloves but with jewel-toned purple tights. The nerve. More appropriately, the style.

I want to ooze with class like her.

Clicky for the sartorially addicted comme moi.


A quickie.

Oh, not that kind of quickie--get your minds out of the gutter. Finally getting the motivation to get off my ass and blog about something relevant--and actually rediscovering that, yes, in fact, I do have a blog--I'm posting a short message about one of the greatest artists I've come across in the past year.

Jenny Mortsell, a Swedish artist who illustrates for mostly contemporary hipster magazines, such as Nylon, is seriously and simplistically refreshing in a crowd of overemotional, trust-funded, "pauvre moi, no one understands me" types. Her upfront, realistic pencil renditions of mostly models and other interesting people are anything but plain. Fairly easy to understand in an artistic sense yet inspiringly young, I wish there were more artists like her.

The ubiquitous Irina, immortalized on paper courtesy of Mortsell.

It's not only the talent that is enviable, but also the lifestyle. Those who are aware of the starvation, downfalls, and sometimes (yet not unusual) disaster of an artist's life and knowingly pursue it are admirable. Perhaps not in judgment, but in a kind of intangible aplomb. Doing what you love to do... and the end result being this. It's one of life's rare delights, I think.