There are those moments when you feel the weight of history pressing on you -- that awestruck realization that a great moment happened here, and now you're bearing witness. Maybe you've ducked into a tower while on the Great Wall. Or you're standing just inside the Lincoln Memorial. The thing is, I never expected to have that feeling while standing in my basement, squinting up at an unidentified roll of film. But that's what happened to me last Sunday, as I was searching through an old shoebox from my parents labeled "photos."
Matthew Niederhauser, who's putting finishing touches on a film called Kapital Creation that documents Beijing's development, recently uploaded a Vimeo featuring stunning aerial footage of this city. It's interesting how a simple rotation of perspective can completely change how we view a place -- and makes you realize the value of a window office atop a skyscraper (or a blimp). Watch the video; you're unlikely to find urban Beijing rendered more beautifully.
Here's a map unlike any you've likely seen. A Chinese artist, using water and ink, has reimagined Chinese provinces as dually simple and abstruse classical paintings. As posted on the website Portal (Chuansongmen), these are hand-drawn outlines of provinces and special administrative regions that are then filled in with splashes of watercolor. We don't quite know what to make of it -- neither does Beyond Chinatown, which has translated the province names. Maybe that's for the better: let these depictions defy easy classification.
China's obsession with Transformers is evident in box office revenue, filming location (Transformers: Age of Extinction has scenes from Wulong county in Chongqing), and this massive Optimus Prime in Kunming. We can now add another chapter to the legend, thanks to "repairmen" in Jinan, Shandong province.
Wei Gensheng is a professional crane operator. Maybe he should think about changing professions, because these pictures are breathtaking, probably the best we've seen of Shanghai's skyline. Wei won second prize at the Shanghai City Photography Competition with these, which were snapped 2,000 feet (610 meters) above ground on the Shanghai Tower. (The building will be the world's second tallest, behind the Burj Khalifa, when it's completed later this year.)
Illustrator Josh Cochran posted the following, a veritable visual crossword highlighting the year in pop culture, two weeks ago on his Tumblr. The artist has generously allowed us to republish the image, on which we'll highlight two China-related elements: Edward Snowden ("there are 10 Edward Snowdens here," Cochran writes; see how many you can find), and the sharks. We really hope it's an allusion to this shark story from Shanghai.
Photographer Zhang Kechun first got the idea to walk along the Yellow River in 2008, and for two years, he did just that, documenting "images of life," as Slate's photo blog Behold puts it, along with "flooding, pollution, and destruction caused by China’s push to modernize."
Without a doubt, Hong Kong is a vertically oriented city, with vertiginous towers built upon mountains and hills and other daunting inclines. Which is why we're happy to encounter graphic artist/photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's rendering of the city in "Vertical Horizon," a project that strives to see Hong Kong as measly mortals must.