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Shanghai

Photographs by Bettina Rhelms

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ISBN: 9781576872338

Photographs by Bettina Rhelms
Text by Serge Bramly

Photography / Asian Studies
Hardcover
13.125 x 14.44 inches
252 pages
202 four-color photographs
ISBN: 978-1-57687-233-8

Photographs by Bettina Rhelms
Text by Serge Bramly

Photography / Asian Studies
Hardcover
13.125 x 14.44 inches
252 pages
202 four-color photographs
ISBN: 978-1-57687-233-8

The women of China are often pictured in the West with an outdated, stereotypical image of submissive and subjugated ladies, quietly waiting at the beck and call of men. But, as famed erotic photographer Bettina Rheims reveals in Shanghai, once visitors catch a glimpse of Shanghainese women, they will stand corrected.

Throughout China, the women of Shanghai are renowned for being beautiful and delicate creatures. But at home they are known as “tricky wives” who make their husbands do as they say. At the office, they are relentless professionals who display equal, if not more, competitiveness than the men. These women likewise take the lead all over China in fashion, displaying such decorous and audacious taste alike as to keep the country watching.

Once a walled village, Shanghai has now become China’s leading industrial city, expanding in such a rush as to leave even its residents in a swirl of expectations. Shanghai is hip, trendy, and young, the city with the highest developing business rate in the world, a place of history and tomorrow and, as is amply evident in Shanghai, a very sexy place. In a tour de force through this ancient city and fabled culture, Rheims beautifully stages photographs of real women from all walks of life. Engaged in an ardent search for the spirit of Shanghai’s women, Rheims and writer Serge Bramly instead found a place so fast-paced, so quickly evolving, that their quest was rendered moot. Western eyes could not define or encapsulate the ineffable essence of Shanghai’s women.

So much can be said of the women in Shanghai, the least of which is the ancient Chinese proverb: “Men have their say, but women have their way.”

Bettina Rheims, born in Paris in 1952, first exhibited her work in 1981 at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. As a photographer of fashion and advertisement, Rheims is renowned for her ability to combine commercial and artistic work. Her publications include Modern Lovers (Paris Audiovisuel, 1990) and Female Trouble (Schirmer-Mosel, 1989) as well as the collaborations with Serge Bramly: I.N.R.I. (Monacelli Press, 1999) and Chambre Close (Gina Kehayoff, 1992). Winner of the City of Paris Photography Grand Prize in 1994, she was chosen to take the official portrait of President Jacques Chirac in 1995. Her most recent work is X’mas (Scheer Editions, 2000), a monograph featuring sixty young girls, posing nude for the first time, in their own universe of unlimited fantasy. Rheims lives in Paris.

Serge Bramly was born in Tunisia in 1949 and came to Paris to study literature in 1961. He has published short stories, novels, biographies, screenplays, and photography, and has contributed essays to various exhibition catalogs. Bramly’s fiction and essays have been published in numerous collaborations with Bettina Rheims, including X’mas (Scheer Editions, 2000) and Chambre Close (Gina Kehayoff, 1992). His biographies include Leonardo: The Artist and the Man (Michael Joseph, 1992). Work from his photography collection was published in Anonym (Gina Kehayoff, 1996). Bramly is a member of the purchase commission of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and has served as a curator for institutions and galleries. Bramly lives in Paris.

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