Chongqing Feature in the Good Life Magazine

Earlier this year I traveled back to Chongqing to work on a story for The Good Life Magazine. It was a nice experience to look around the city and see how much has changed since I have last visited it. Here are a few of the images from that body of work as well as the tearsheets.

Tim Franco is available for editorial and commercial photography assignment in Asia. He is based between Seoul and Shanghai and often travels to the following destinations : Hong Kong, beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok & Singapore. Please contact him directly at timfranco@gmail.com

Khazar Islands - A failed urban dream ?

During my time in the Azeri Capital, working on my Crude Gentrification Story, I tried to visit and learn about as many places and project as possible . The Khazar Islands project is by far the one that surprised me the most ! This gigantic complex, as large as a small city is suppose to be spread on 30 Km2 over the caspian Sea and house about a million residents over luxury villas and supposely the tallest tower in the world ( Azerbaijan Tower ) . As per the wikipidia page , the project is suppose to go and be finished by 2025 but the reality seems otherwise. The site has been abandoned after only a few of the buildings have been erected. The Khazar Islands project can be seen as a reflection of the situation in Azerbaijan, a country that is trying hard to shine through new urban development and international event but that fails to see its realities . Here are a few images of it and some renders of the project found on the wikipedia page.

Only the entrance building with its swimming pool seems to rise at the entrance - here below a few of the rendering of how the project should look like 

Chongqing - high above the farmlands

As this summer sees the last run towards the editing of my upcoming book about Chongqing, I am sharing here some of the most recent images . While traveling through the city and around, you cannot help but notice how hard the urban structure are trying to take over what was once a big farming community. Here south the the Yangtse river, a bridge arrives above a farming village with one of the highest arch junction int he world ( 420 meters ) . The Caiyuanba bridge joins the Central Yuzhong district to Nanping.

The bridge and its arch seen from the Nanping district

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

Ghost Cities | China Property market Issues

More photos from my work on ghost cities around China that are part of the story I did for the Wall Street Journal ( see post below ). 

An abandonned housing complex in yingkou China

An old man resting on pack of straw in the middle of Yingkou new Harbour district

The Yingkou Olympic Stadium

The Yingkou new district city scape

Abandoned road in Yingkou downtown

Yingkou Beach

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.

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