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17 Drone Photographs Reveal How Urbanization Has Changed China

 

#basketball #djitribe #inspire2 #shanghai#hypecourts #charliexia

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The story of China's rise is, at its core, a story of cities. Over the past four decades, hundreds of millions of people have left farms and rural villages across the vast countryside and settled in urban agglomerations that, by and large, had to be built from scratch. Life in modern China is one of skyscrapers, residential complexes, highways, shopping malls, and stadiums that, as recently as the 1970s, hardly existed. The urbanization of China's massive population has had enormous economic and environmental consequences for the world. 

The Shanghai-based photographer Charlie Xia has a deep fascination with how the growth of cities has transformed China's landscape. His photos, shot by drone, present an aerial perspective of change — from modern roads coursing through a pristine landscape to endless rows of residential towers. Where so much China photography strains to present a sensationalistic view of the country, Xia's work finds the beauty in, as he puts it, "the geometry of people's lives."

Born in Beijing, Xia spent his childhood in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. before returning to China after graduating from college. There, he became a professional photographer specializing in architecture and food. Xia's work has appeared in Wallpaper, Architectural Digest, and Interior Design. His personal photography has been showcased in Shanghai and Berlin, and you can check out his website and follow him on Instagram

Asia Blog recently caught up with Xia to talk about his fascination with cities, his love of buildings, and the tremendous artistic possibilities offered by drones.

Your work has a particular emphasis on Chinese urban landscapes. Why do they fascinate you?

I've been living in Shanghai for over 15 years, and in that time I've witnessed with my own eyes the growth and transformation of this Chinese megacity. What usually takes the West over half a century to develop happens here within a couple of decades — the outline of Pudong literally changes every week.

Obviously, this growth isn't uniform, and so the contrast created between old and new weaves an interesting tapestry upon which I direct my camera. 

 

 

#shanghai #sunrise #cityscape

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What makes them unique?

I believe that the building developers' designs reflect the aspirations of the people who choose to live inside them. From pre-communist art deco to communist-era utilitarian apartment blocks, and from the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower to the sleek new Shanghai Tower — they are monuments of their times. I am interested how in a photo of an urban landscape you can see the history of a people.

 

 

#djitribe #inspire2 #eyesonchinaproject #shanghai #sunrise #cityscape

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What advantages does drone photography offer?

The freedom to create depth. At street level, our views are obstructed by the buildings in our immediate vicinity. But as we get higher up, you add another layer of complexity and there is a whole new dimension to explore.

 

 

#smoggy #cityscape #inspire2 #shanghai #sunset from #fuxingisland #eyesonchinaproject #charliexia

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How did you decide to use it in your work?

Before drones, I was always limited to the rooftop of buildings that I could access when I needed to shoot a particular scene. In my opinion, only recently has drone technology advanced to a point where it can offer the photographer the flexibility and quality to produce images on par with consumer-level digital cameras.

 

 

#pudong#droneoftheday #djitribe #inspire2 #cityscape #urbanphotography #urbanoddity#droneoftheday #zaishanghai

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What is your creative process?

It usually starts with driving around in an area and, if it looks interesting to me, making a mental note to go home and check it out on Google Earth. Major intersections are usually a huge draw. Once I have a good idea of what an area will look like, I'll go and scout it out with a drone.

 

How do you decide what next to shoot?

There are so many interesting things to investigate once you're up in the air, so I imagine I'll be kept busy for awhile. Anything that has to do with the geometry of people's lives interests me. I'm currently working on a series called "Chinese Houses" focusing on Chinese residential developments, as well as another one on water parks. 

I also take my drone on road trips, shooting landscapes in western China.

 

What's next for you?

Taking drone photography out of the city and into the suburbs. There is a lot happening outside of the major cities — it seems like every city just wants to become the next Shanghai or Shenzhen, but to me this is unsustainable. So it's interesting to see the contrast.

 

 

#Shanghai #fromabove #djitribe #charliexia

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#dji #djitribe #droneoftheday #dronephotography #ontheroad #chinesehouses

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#dji #djitribe #droneoftheday #dronephotography #ontheroad #chinesehouses

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#dji #djitribe #droneoftheday #dronephotography #ontheroad #chinesehouses

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#dronephotography #droneoftheday #natgeo #china #dji #qinghai #mountains #village

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#dronephotography #droneoftheday #roadtrip #silkroad #djitribe #hypecourts #qinghai #china #natgeotravel

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#djidrone #droneoftheday #zaishanghai #shangai #houses #cityscape #urbanphotography #inspire2

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#inspire2 #dronephotography #urbanphotography #sunset #shanghai

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