All images by Florian Mueller. Used with Creative Commons permission.
Night scenes are among the favorites of many street photographers. The sheer number of outstanding works we’ve featured on the topic are a testament to this. We’re adding one more to our roster of favorites in the form of Florian Mueller’s latest set, which takes us to the streets of Shanghai and its colorful Nightshift scenes.
When we speak of Shanghai, its cosmopolitan character and cultural background are among the first things to come to mind. But in Nightshift, Mueller takes us to a unique and most likely often overlooked side of the city. “Just around the corner of the fancy shops and blingbling areas, life takes place on the street,” he observed. “When it is too warm and humid to be indoors, people live, sleep, play and sell their stuff or just chill outside their shops and booths.”
Indeed, he takes us around some curious-looking shop fronts; from the orderly displays to the disheveled ones; from random mix of goods to fruit stands; from household goods, to toy stores, to curtain makers. It’s an interesting mix of mom and pop businesses that are tucked around Shanghai’s mostly sophisticated urban landscape.
Mueller could have shot them during the day, but as we’ve seen before, the night brings a whole new dimension and adds drama to an otherwise typical scene. Without hordes of shoppers around and only the occasional shopkeeper sitting or standing in the shop, we get to see all the shapes and colors of their goods. By keeping the framing tight and the non-essential elements “in the dark,” he also made sure that our eyes will only be on the shop fronts. Pretty clever, if you ask me.
Mueller seems to have the knack for keeping the viewer’s focus on only what really matters to his story and vision. This is prominent in his distraction-free, architectural photography series titled Singularity.