Photo Essay: People Mountain, People Sea

Pierfrancesco Celada
Members of a Shanghai camera club photograph a model in Pudong’s Century Park, Shanghai. Pierfrancesco Celada

More than 50 percent of the world lives in urban areas, and that number is increasing. The way that cities and megacities are developing is influencing the structure of our families and communities, and changing our social interactions. The People’s Republic of China is the most populated country in the world, with over 1.35 billion citizens.

Progress and modernization, together with modifications of the environment, are changing the relationship between people and their communities. Every year, millions of Chinese migrate from rural areas to larger cities in search of better opportunities and access to the global market. Today, more than 50 million Chinese live in the five biggest cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing.

“People mountain, people sea” is an old Chinese expression for a very large group of people. A few years ago, a young boy used this phrase to describe a huge crowd traveling to a festival, and it made sense. With this spirit, I have begun to investigate Chinese megacities, fascinated by the multitudes and by the strong sense of community I felt in the streets.

Pierfrancesco Celada A man walks along a Chongqing street in front of a “forest” scenery board, used to fence off a construction site. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Kite runners play in Chaotianmen Square, Chongqing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada A crowd in Chaotianmen Square, Chongqing, gets ready to take a Yangtze River boat trip. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada A boy throws rocks into the Yangtze River in Chongqing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Friends sunbathe on the shore of the Han River, with the Wuchang skyline and the Yangtze River in the background, in Hankou, Wuhan. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada People swim in Houhai Lake in central Beijing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Workers walk on the roof top a metro station in Pudong, Shanghai. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Kids play on the Shenzhen Bay seashore; in the background is Shenzhen’s skyline. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Local university students play war games in Guangzhou. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada A young boy runs away from a construction site in central Shanghai. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Locals get ready for a swim in the Yangtze River in Chongqing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Friends have a barbecue party on the Yangtze River basin in Chongqing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Swimmers dive from a bridge on the Han River in Hankou, Wuhan. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada A fish in a pond at the Tianjin Water Park in Tianjin. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Locals dance at night in a public square in Beijing. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Families gather outside at night to celebrate China’s National Day in Zhujiang New Town, Guangzhou. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada Officers mount a Chinese flag for a celebration in the People’s Square metro station in Shanghai. Pierfrancesco Celada

Pierfrancesco Celada A fisherman floats on an inner tube on the Han River, with the Yangtze River in the background, in Wuhan. Pierfrancesco Celada

 

“People Mountain, People Sea” is the second chapter of a personal project on life in Modern Megalopolis. View more work by Pierfrancesco Celada here.

 

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