The modern city of Shanghai rose up from truly 'muddy' origins, both in the soft subsoil its foundations were build upon and its early economy based on a trade in opium, or 'foreign mud'. Forced open to the British by the unequal Treaty of Nanking in 1842, Shanghai did what it does best: it beat the odds to become a 'bawdy and gaudy' metropolis that, 168 years later, commands a place in the contemporary imagination unlike any other city. Despite civil war, invasion, revolution and famine, Shanghai has continued to be a byword for style, culture, business and opportunity, leading the way for China's ongoing boom.
Shanghai: A History in Photographs, 1842-Today unravels the origins of today's Shanghai, exploring the forces that shaped the city through rare archive photographs, images from private collections, and original commissions from the world's top contemporary photographers. This is the story of China-told through the prism of the country's most international city.