Photographer Jennifer Bin shows Shanghai as you have never seen it before.
#MY4810 Jennifer Bin
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Jennifer Bin’s appearance is just as extraordinary and futuristic as her pictures. Dressed all in black, the designer with dyed pale pink hair and nose ring almost looks as if she’s straight out of a science fiction film. Her alert gaze focuses on her interlocutor. She talks quickly, but with a firm and clear voice, her hands resting on her lap. She radiates the very thing you feel when looking at her photos: a certain fearlessness, courage and the irrefutable self-confidence to discover a modern metropolis like Shanghai in her very own special way. For Montblanc, the Canadian with Chinese roots has placed the #MY4810 Trolley in a futuristic light. Learn more about her vocation and bizarre nocturnal encounters in this interview.
A timeless travel companion for a futuristic city: Jennifer Bin explores Shanghai with the #MY4810 Trolley
Ms Bin, what’s so special about taking pictures in Shanghai?
What I like is the variety of different motifs. Many people see Shanghai as a very futuristic city, almost as though it’s from a science fiction film like Blade Runner. The truth is that Shanghai offers many contrasts: avant-garde architecture and a breathtaking skyline, but also gritty streets in the workingclass districts.
Are there any negative aspects?
(Laughs) Not so many. But it is remarkable how far some of the photogenic places are from each other. Many of the new and architecturally interesting buildings are in the suburbs. It sometimes takes up to two hours to get to them.
With a population of more than 24 million people, megacity Shanghai is one of the most exciting cities in the world.
How do you show Shanghai from a new perspective?
I don’t follow a strict plan. I just let things happen. It’s essential for my work that I’m open-minded. I try to get behind the facades. Both literally and figuratively: I walk through every door that’s open and try to discover what’s behind it.
Most of your photos are taken at night. What is the difference between that and shooting in the daytime?
I just like the way the city looks at night, especially when the weather’s clear. My goal is to make the photos look futuristic. Somehow not of this world. I’m a big fan of the blue hour, because the play of colours at this time contributes a lot to the feeling that I want my motifs to convey. Day shots are shrouded in grey like in a dystopia. At night, the neon signs glow brightly and bathe the city in a vibrant light. That’s when Shanghai changes its character. If you’re open to new experiences, you can discover fantastic things during this time.
With whispering wheels and height-adjustable bar the #MY4810 Trolley is the perfect companion for the urban traveller.
That sounds exciting. What have been your most extraordinary experiences in Shanghai?
(Laughs) Almost every time I go out in the evening, something unpredictable happens in the street. Apart from the usual cultural differences, I’ve already experienced several flash mobs. One night, I was sitting on the subway when about 20 people got on the train dressed as teddy bears handing out flyers.
What motifs are still on your bucket list, beyond Shanghai?
Whew, that’s a difficult question to answer because I want to visit as many cities as possible. But what particularly attracts me are dramatic nature shots of remote places. That’s why I dream of exploring Iceland and the Faroe Islands and adding another facet to my passion for photography.
Fear of heights or fear of getting caught: Jennifer Bin surely takes a risk for her art.