Last week I visited the Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver, Canada – home to photographer Greg Girard. Greg has been photographing Asia since 1987 and has published a series of wonderful books documenting the shifting landscapes of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hanoi.
His first book “City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City” (with Ian Lambot) documented the last years of Hong Kong’s Walled City which was knocked down in 1992. A world of it’s own, the city connected 300 separate high rise buildings built piecemeal (without architects) and home to more than 33,000 people. A highrise “shantytown” governed by the Triads, and with high rates of prostitution, gambling and drug use, the government began an eviction process which started in 1987 and culminated in its demolition in 5 years later.
In 2007, “Phantom Shanghai” was published, documenting Shanghai’s transformation from a city of languishing European architecture to a city of over 4000 towering metal and glass skyscrapers. In it’s relentless pursuit of modernity, Shanghai has been ridding itself of the past. Girard’s color saturated photos capture this dying world and evoke the deep melancholy of a history lost.
Most recently Girard has published “Hanoi Calling – One Thousand Years Now”. He documents the day to day life of the city on the eve of it’s thousand year anniversary. It’s a private and intimate view into an ancient yet modern city.
For more information on Greg Girard, go to his website here.