Sleeping people in Shanghai

by on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 Comments

Adrien Roger is a young French photographer living in Shanghai. He is featured this month on the virtual art gallery: He comments and explains his series entitled "sleeping people in Shanghai"  (Watch it here.)

"I was born in the suburb of Paris, and I live now in Shanghai. I always liked cameras but I realized rather late that it could not be a job. I started working in a studio specialized in fashion, and, at the same time, I did some traveling, mainly in Africa.

My center of attention now is the man and his environment, in particular the urban one. Cities are a reflection of our system, of our evolution. With their good points and bad points. In the street, as  well as in the subway, there is a proximity, where all social classes coincide. I'm looking for scenes of everyday life because I have the desire to witness and reproduce reality. Furthermore, Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Shanghai never sleep and they are constantly changing. The gap between individuals, be they local people or expatriates, is enormous on both the cultural and social levels. One again, this is exactly the image I have of the world and its system, and that's what I want to show.

The series of "Sleepers" is the result of a hard work and benefited from a certain tolerance from the Asian people. In Shanghai, taking a nap is quite normal. For example the bus driver is snoozing at every stoplight. Here, in Shanghai, sleeping is the reflection of a hard work, whereas in the western world, it is that of laziness. The same poor man would lose his job and people in the bus would sneer at him. I am fascinated by the quietness of everyday life here. Life is already tough, so why add stress?

You're asking me where is the frontier between voyeurism and photographic art or information. To me, voyeurism and photography are completely separated. I took pictures of these people sleeping like I would photograph the Parisian crowd in the subway or the African man's last breath.Where does the debate stop ? It's the eternal question of each photographer involved in reportage. I accept fully this "voyeurism" since it is not perverse and it is not perverse as long as you don't cheat." Adrien Roger

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Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of


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