One of the most populous cities within the world. With a population over 23 million, the megalopolis becomes a scene of surrealism. Throughout every region of the city immense residences and financial buildings are scattered in every corner of this densely populated city. Yet a feeling of a ‘slow paced’ simple manner of living is still present in the everyday environment. People and the daily life emerge through the city of Shanghai, showing the strange and, at times, mysterious beauty. A city full of contrasts; from the contrasting lives of the people, the urban and rural areas to the strong financial statement of the city.
‘Plastic Luxuries’ reflects upon the value of the human being and living conditions within a financially globalized world. The complex and diverse aesthetics of the living standards have left these people centuries behind. How has the economic boom of the last three decades affected the poor regions and how have people coped with these major changes. The photographs were taken throughout the region of Shanghai’s ‘Old City’, the Nanshi district as it is known today. With a sense of pragmatism, the project seeks, through the aesthetics of imagery, to portray the real conditions of people’s lives within a ‘surreal’ environment. A ‘luxury’ that not everyone is able to achieve through their standard of living yet a reality that seems to be increasing rapidly within the globalized world of today.
Ioanna Koukouraki (b.1992) is a Greek photographer working in Greece and England. Her photographic practice is often influenced by cultural identity and the socio-political aspects of society. Her approach to using the medium of photography is to explore ‘new experiences’. Using the analogue medium allows to approach her subjects through a time-process, understanding and investigating the subject further.
all images and text © Ioanna Koukouraki