Faces of Shanghai: Visual Story Telling of the Faces and Emotions of a People

All images by Blupace. Used with permission.

We’ve featured Blu & Pace before on this website, and they’re a couple who continue to astound me with the quality of their black and white photography. The duo specialize in portrait, fashion, and documentary photography–with a new series called Faces of Shanghai being at the fore of their new work.

According to them:

Faces of Shanghai is a street documentary project taken over a period of 16 months, between 2014 -2016. The project represents the story of Shanghai, captured in the faces of the people who live and work there. Our approach was taken from a street documentary perspective in an attempt to share with the viewer, not only the faces of individuals, but also to engage the emotions and stories held by them.

Blupace uses very specific compositions and tones to really make the image emphasize a person’s face. Not only this, but the scenes almost look cinematic and film-like in some ways. The subjects in the images are clearly expressive–which is what they’re specifically going for. By using a shallow depth of field in lots of the photos, our eyes are immediately drawn to these people. Combine this with capturing the folks in their normal, everyday scenes, and you’ve got a sort of winning combination.

What’s most captivating about the work is the diversity of people. Rather than be exploitive, Blupace tries to get an accurate visual census of sort of the types of people here. They’re working class; and we can clearly see this in manys ways not only by who the people are but also by the surroundings. Blupace’s images are also like a window in the world of Shanghai.

Of course, what this also means is careful editorialization–and that’s what every photographer should be wary of when trying to tell a documentary story of any sort. This month on our premium publication, La Noir Image, we’re featuring documentary work and photographers. You should subscribe!