Shanghai Selfies

Shanghai Selfies

Folks in cultural studies and related fields have been banging this drum for years: we are immersed in images. We have been, sure, but awareness of ambient photography has recently gone mainstream in a big way.

I’m actually glad that I’m not studying a phenomenon like selfies right now; I’m mildly surprised by the amount of work that's already been done.

I’m a reluctant photographic subject. In point of fact, I despise pictures of myself. But sometimes they’re necessary, sometimes being in a photo is polite and tactful, and sometimes they can simply mark a happening or event.

I spent two weeks in Shanghai last month, teaching a short professional communication course at Shanghai University. I’ll have more to say about this experience in subsequent posts; for now, I’ll just say this: I loved Shanghai, I loved my students, and I can’t wait to go back.

On a few occasions during my time in Shanghai I felt compelled to photographically document my experience, mainly for my family, by using this tried and true equation: human + location = experiential documentation.

I realize that these aren’t selfies, per se, but they’re as close as I’m likely to get. [1]

  1. Photo 1: a door at Jing’An Temple; Photo 2: a little tea garden and spicy peanuts (I was the only laowai there); Photo 3: Yuyuan Garden footpaths, sensibly designed to soothe and massage bare feet.  ↩


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