Image of a Daisy with the words

Greg Girard, Six Hundred Things (Pinghu Lu)
Interpretation by FAM Docent Sharon Davi 

Photograph of an alleyway in Shanghai

Greg Girard (Canadian, b. 1955), Six Hundred Things (Pinghu Lu), 2005, chromogenic print, 49 ½” x 57 5/8”. Gift of Dr. Anthony Terrana, 2018.72.

Greg Girard is a Canadian documentary photographer (born in 1955) with works in several Canadian art galleries such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery. His photos have been published in magazines such as Time, Elle, and Forbes. Girard has spent much of his career in Asia, examining the social and physical evolutions of large cities.

This oversized Chromogenic print, called Six Hundred Things, is part of the photobook Phantom Shanghai created by Girard from 2000 to 2006. Six Hundred Things is a microcosm of the tension in Shanghai due to the rapid encroachment of progress and modernity to a city that has been indifferently neglected for decades. At the forefront is the old Shanghai, moldering in the gloom. She shows her age in the messiness of accumulated cables hanging from the buildings, broken-down cardboard boxes, and well used plastic tubs. Eerie lights shine from the old storefront where a bent, amorphous figure wearily oversees the alley.

In contrast, the background shows the glow of the modern Shanghai skyline. Its soft, diffused shapes and colors only hint at what is in the distance. The neon lights of modern Shanghai cast an eye-catching, rectangular aura compared to the more modest, traditional streetlamp found on old Pinghu Lu.

How many other contrasts can you find in this photo?

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