Phantom Shanghai

Phantom Shanghai
Greg Girard

Foreword by William Gibson

Format & Features

Hardcover, 12 ½” × 10″
240 pages
100+ photographs
Full-colour throughout
ISBN # 978-0-9739739-1-4


First Edition: 2007

Out of print

About Phantom Shanghai

For the past five years Greg Girard has been photographing the buildings, shops, homes and neighborhoods that are unlikely to survive Shanghai’s vision of its own future.

As Shanghai modernizes and seeks acceptance as an international city, buildings and neighbourhoods that were once preserved “by accident” are now being purposefully demolished. The present formula is: development for profit plus central planning minus public debate.

Phantom Shanghai is a spectacular look at the Shanghai that won’t survive the vision the place has for itself. This stunning photographic journey is a look at the present day Shanghai after its four decades of a deep freeze when urban development for profit stopped to the present day where both these Shanghais still occupy a single city—it’s the moment where politically-inspired neglect meets politically-inspired development.

“I’ve had a box of prints of Greg Girard’s photographs here for entirely too long now, and every time I open it and start looking through them, it’s as though my head falls off.” —William Gibson

Meet the Artist
Greg Girard

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer whose work has examined the social and physical transformations in Asia’s largest cities for more than three decades. City of Darkness Revisited,released in 2014, revives an early collaboration with co-author Ian Lambot, and updates their seminal book, City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City (Watermark, 1993).

Based in Shanghai between 1998 and 2011, his photographic monograph, Phantom Shanghai(Magenta, Toronto, 2007), with a foreword by novelist William Gibson, looks at the rapid and at times violent transition of Shanghai as the city raced to make itself “modern again” at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Other titles include Hanoi Calling (Magenta, Toronto, 2010) and In the Near Distance (Kominek, Berlin, 2010), a book of early photographs made in Asia and North America between 1973 and 1986.

Girard’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery and other public and private collections. He is represented in Canada by Monte Clark Gallery. In addition to book projects and gallery work, Girard is a contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine. “How the DNA Revolution is Changing Us” appeared in the August 2016 issue. Other stories include “Can China Go Green?”, “The Kingdom of David and Solomon”, and “Bitter Waters: China’s Water Crisis.”


Vogue China

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Phantom Shanghai