The women of China are often pictured in the West with an outdated, stereotypical image of submissive and subjugated ladies, quietly waiting at the beck and call of men. 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.
In 2002, Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly released a series of photograph of Women in Shanghai that were taken during the course of two extended stays. Once a walled village, Shanghai has now become China’s leading economic 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 and Bramly 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 Bramly instead found a place so fast-paced, so quickly evolving, that their quest was rendered moot.
About Bettina Rheims:” I like Flesh, I am a photographer of the Skin”, Bettina Rheims was by turn, a model, a journalist, an art gallerist before devoting herself to photography. In 1978, she made her name with a first series of naked erotic dancers. Following that, she released portraits of well-known personalities and actresses for a number of magazines in France, Europe, and New York, as well as making advertising films. In 1994, she was awarded the Grand Prix for photography of the city of Paris.
Serge Bramly is a writer, photographer, art critic and historian of Art, he received numerous literature prizes including for his biography of “Leonardo da Vinci”. Since 1992, he has co-produced many projects with Bettina Rheims including “Shanghai”, INRI, Rose c’est Paris, as well as many art retrospectives around the world; his latest book: “Transparency and reflection” ( La transparence et le reflet), depict the history of “glass” throughout arts and civilizations.