Ulan Bator | A new Democracy in Mongolia

More photos from a story I have worked on a few month ago about the new democracy in Mongolia. During my time there, I had the chance to visit local herders and resident from the Capital city Ulan Bator as well as prominent politician & Journalists. Here is a few photos taken in the Mongolian Capital city

The smog arriving from the Ger city into the downtown area

The smog arriving from the Ger city into the downtown area

The full story is available here

Tim Franco is a documentary and commercial photographer available for assignment all over asia.

Fashion Editorial for Grazia | Shanghai

Last month, I was assigned by Grazia to cover a Max Mara event in Shanghai. The fashion show happened in the old exhibition center that was completely transformed for the occasion ! Here a few of the photos as well as the press clippings

Tim Franco is an award winning photographer based in Asia and available for editorial assignment in Seoul, Shanghai , Beijing & Hong Kong.

Urbanism & Modern architecture in Baku - Azerbaijan

Baku has a really impressive range of architecture. From the traditional old city to the out of proportion Flame Towers, it is hard to understand where the city is going in terms of urbanisation. Here are a few photos from my "Crude Gentrification" project about some of the craziest and more modern part of the city's architecture.

The series is available for editorial usage with my agency , click the link here

Crude Gentrification in Baku | Azerbaijan

Dominated by the flame towers, the city of Baku seems to pride itself in its successful oil history. Once known as the black city, the abundance of oil inland and on the caspian sea has seen this fairly new country (Azerbaijan) rise from the ground. Located between two big power of the Region (Russia and Iran) and still involved in an ethnic conflict on its west border with Armenia, the country has been looking for ways to build up a national pride around its successful oil profits.

From organizing international events (European Games, Formula one amongst others), the country has invested a lot into impressive infrastructure and working together with big names in architecture to gentrify and modernise its capital city . Oil money has even sometimes ignited dreams of giant projects such as the Kazar island, a Dubai-like housing project with the highest scryscraper in the world surrounded by luxury residences that has seen a brutal stop. Other original projects involve the white city located in what was once the center of the oil industry in downtown Baku, based on Haussmanian / Parisian architecture. With the fluctuation of oil prices, the economy of Azerbaijan is at risk.

From war migrant camps to futuristic architecture, this photo series portrays the capital city of a the land of fire !

I am very happy to present you this new photographic series if you are interested in publishing it, you can view the whole set and purchase images with my agency directly @institute artist by clicking the following link : Crude Gentrification Complete Series

Seoul travel story | Travel Photography for L'Express

I moved earlier this year to my new apartment on the beautiful hill of Namsam in the center of the capital city of South Korea. A few weeks ago I was assigned by the french magazine l'Express for a travel story here in Seoul. Here are a few tear sheets from that story.

Tim Franco is Seoul / Shangai / Beijing based photographer available for editorial and commercial photography assignment all over Asia. 

Floating City - A review of the new ZTE Axon Elite

I recently got the opportunity to try the new ZTE Axon Elite phone to try their new phone and its camera function. I was having a busy month working on couple assignments around China and preparing for an exhibition but finally took a few days off and traveled to Hong Kong to try out different functionality of the phone. It was very easy to get my hands on the camera function. The screen phone is large but still feels quite steady in the hand and definition of and luminosity of the screen are very convenient for a precise framing. 

While I was traveling throughout the city and visiting some of my favorite rooftops, I started to look at the different modes of the camera. As I was trying to capture the density of the city, i was struggling between the perfect uniformity of the high rises and the mess of cars and markets on the street. I used the mirror mode that allowed me to only keep the clean part of the image, and , by automaticly reflecting the higher part of the photo. It suddenly allowed me to have an incredible and completely sur-realistic image of the city. I had the impression of capturing floating building on an advanced alien planet. 

The photo ended up very sharp rendering well the strange and confusing colors of the city. I was really happy with the result and thinking about continuing a series about Hong Kong using this approach.

Interview on current & upcoming books

This month ( october ) issue of french magazine D'Architecture is featuring a long story on Chinese Architecture. The article is presenting "Made by Chinese" my recent book released with Frederic Edelmann about Architecture and Urbanisation in China. The Magazine also feature an interview and presentation of my latest Chongqing project ! Its very nice to see all of this coming together !

Chongqing IFC or Hong Kong wannabe

In another case of copied architecture, the Chongqing CBD in Jiefangbei also includes an IFC office tower which is extremely similar to its Hong Kong building. Another case of how local urban planner loop up to famous cities and architects and try to copy / paste them instead of trying to come with their own identity. The Chaoptienman ( tip of chongqing peninsula ) is also seeing its old port destroyed to give a place to a similar building to the famous Singapore Sands hotel & casino... Chongqing, wannabe the modern metropolis of china but if the trend continues, it will look more like a mix of other famous cities paste into one.

Chongqing IFC in the middle of the Jiefangbei area

Urban Farming in China | Chongqing Series

The latest part of my Chongqing project is focusing on the Urban Farming phenomenon in China

Ren Yindi. After following the transition from an Rural Hukou to an Urban one, he could not find any other way to provide for himself and his family than to go back to farm whatever lands was available around his apartment in a high rise tower.

Ren Yindi. After following the transition from an Rural Hukou to an Urban one, he could not find any other way to provide for himself and his family than to go back to farm whatever lands was available around his apartment in a high rise tower.

Urban farming is so common in Chongqing that it is part of the city’s landscape. From small pieces of land on the side of a road to mud hills on giant construction sites, every piece of earth is good to be farmed. Unlike in the West, where well-educated urban residents are turning to urban farming as a hobby or as part of a hip, modern lifestyle, urban farming in China instead points to the heart of several issues surrounding rapid development and, at times, forced urbanisation. China faces the need to alter its economy away from an over-reliance on exports and towards an economy that has a healthy domestic market of its own. While China’s urban population is developing consumer habits already, China’s rural population exists largely at subsistence level, and contributes almost nothing the consumer economy. The Chinese government understands that if this population were moved in to cities then it would no longer be self-sufficient, and would therefore depend on - and contribute to - this consumer ecosystem. Urbanisation then, is one of the most important tools China has in strengthening its economy. Of the four municipalities of China, Chongqing is the only one that holds a significant rural population - around two thirds of the municipality’s 30 million residents are rural - and as such, Chongqing is leading the way for urbanisation in China.

Chongqing plans to urbanise half of its rural population within a 10-year period, meaning a full 10 million residents will need to transform their lives from that of a rural existence to that of an urban consumer between the years of 2007 and 2017. While some rural residents move to the city out of choice, others are relocated to the city by the government, and many of these are ill-equipped to deal with city life. They may have little or no formal education and a great deal of residents struggle to adapt to urban life. Instead of joining the commerce economy, some return to what they know; farming, and they do this wherever they can find unused land.

Huang Chunying and her husband work barefoot on a land above the new business developments of the Tiandi Project.

Huang Chunying and her husband work barefoot on a land above the new business developments of the Tiandi Project.

One of the many walls of china | between fast urbanisation and its population trying to catch up.

One of the many walls of china | between fast urbanisation and its population trying to catch up.

Wang Chengyun helping his uncle to clear lands in the new developed district of Jiangbei in Chongqing

Wang Chengyun helping his uncle to clear lands in the new developed district of Jiangbei in Chongqing

One of the newest addition to the modern Chongqing landscape, the Tiandi business center.

One of the newest addition to the modern Chongqing landscape, the Tiandi business center.

More of those photos directly on the website porfolio:
http://www.timfranco.com/chongqing-urban-farm/

China File also published the story this week :
http://www.chinafile.com/multimedia/photo-gallery/Between-Rock-and-Hard-Place

Seoul urban study and cityscape

Itaewon at dawn

Gangnam offices at dusk

Central Seoul at dusk

Gangnam main shopping area

Itaewon

Seoul is connected & wired through the latest and fastest online technologies. It is also a new city, mostly reconstructed after the Korean War, its large avenues and modern buildings seems endless in the center and spreading through beautiful mountains surrounding the city. It gives this megapolis a unique energy. While modern & tall buildings can be found in various part of the city, they always surround smaller and more intimate districts made of small alleys , traditional houses and business. Christianity is also an important part of modern Korean culture. In any district, the neon litted crosses can be seen from afar.

 

This urban study made with a traditional 4x5 large format wooden field camera in film aims to document the urban enviornement of the South Korean Capital.

Moving Mountains to Create Cities for the Wall Street Journal

Last month, I was assigned on a story for the Wall Street Journal to photography a city in Hubei that was looking through urban and economical expansion by removing the mountains around the city. The story was really visual and the images talk for themselves.

Wall Street Journal Press Clip | Cities in China in Drive for Land

Green Underground | Chongqing

More from my chongqing work - Since everywhere, the city seems to grow vertically above former mountains, rivers and farm lands. I wanted to have a look beneath the city, below bridges, highways and other urban structure.  This led me to some extraordinary places where the nature was claiming back its territory in the city's underground. Here a few images, to be continued.

chongqing | underground nature

chongqing | underground nature

chongqing | underground nature

Architecture Photographer China

With the release of my book "Made by Chinese" covering modern architecture in China, I have just updated my architecture in China gallery . Here below are some of the photos I have shot during this project and that I have included in my personal portfolio.

Tim Franco is a shanghai architecture photographer available for commercial assignment in China . Please contact him directly timfranco@gmail.com | +86 135 858 150 11

Chongqing - Mega Urbanisation

As I was back in Chongqing for a special assignment on urban farming, I also continued working on some images of this incredible megapolis. From construction site to amusement park and a view of the city at dusk.

Chongqing Chaotianmen at dusk

Man vs the city | New Development zone of Jiangbei distrcit in Chongqing

A couple enjoying a ride in the Foreign Street Amusement park in Chongqing

A giant housing development construction site in the new district of Jiangbei in Chongqing

Young migrant workers near their houses in the new development district of jiangbei in Chongqing