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Phantom Shanghai [Hardcover]

Greg Girard , Leo Rubinfien , William Gibson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Phantom Shanghai Phantom Shanghai 4.7 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

April 1, 2007 0973973919 978-0973973914 1st

“Shanghai—a city in the process of dismantling its history to accommodate China’s new cosmopolitan vision of itself.”—Greg Girard

As Shanghai modernizes and seeks acceptance as an international city, buildings and neighborhoods that were once preserved simply by lack of intervention are now being purposefully demolished.

Phantom Shanghai is a spectacular look at a Shanghai that won’t survive the vision the country has for itself. For the past five years, Greg Girard has been photographing the city’s buildings, shops, homes, and neighborhoods. This stunning photographic journey is a look at present-day Shanghai, where politically inspired neglect meets politically inspired development.

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer living in Shanghai since 1998. Largely self-taught, he combines anthropology with a lyrical realism in his work. He is represented in North America by Monte Clark Gallery in Toronto. His editorial work appears in publications such as TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, and The New York Times Magazine.

William Gibson is an American-born Canadian science fiction author. He has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. He is credited with coining the term “cyberspace.” His first novel, Neuromancer, has sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1984. He is also responsible for Pattern Recognition and the screenplay for Johnny Mnemonic.

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

For decades after the Communist victory, in 1949, Shanghai remained largely intact, preserved by benign neglect, its architecture a rich legacy of the polyglot collision of Asian and Western cultures that formed the city. Since the nineties, however, Shanghai’s metamorphosis into a towering mega-city has been an ineluctable and pitiless process of paving over nearly all previous traces—a phenomenon stunningly documented in Greg Girard’s garish, poetic, infinitely sad photographs. In an indignant introduction, William Gibson calls them "Documents of the Gone World." Seeming to have arrived in each case minutes before the bulldozers, Girard shows us here a pair of stone lions sitting amid the rubble of a condemned factory, there a gorgeous mansion in the old French concession, long ago subdivided for worker housing, and last occupied by members of the very crew charged with knocking it down.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

About the Author

Greg Girard (1955-) is a Canadian photographer, living in Shanghai since 1998. He is capturing the transformations in China and across Asia. Largely self-taught, he combines anthropology with a lyrical realism. His editorial work appears in such publications as Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, and more. He is represented by the Monte Clark Gallery in Toronto. An American-born Canadian science fiction writer, he's been called the father of the cypberpunk subgenre. He coined the term "cyberspace." His Neuromancer has sold more than 6.5 million copies since its 1984 release. It was the first novel to win all three major science fiction awards: The Nebula, The Hugo, and the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Magenta Foundation; 1st edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973973919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973973914
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 12.5 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's downright scandalous that Amazon gives William Gibson top billing for this book. "Phantom Shanghai" is GREG GIRARD's book through-and-through, a brilliant 224-page urban photo essay of the highest standard.

I have lived in Shanghai for the past 7-plus years and have walked among the deeply felt images captured by Girard. His stunning photos are amazing in not just their stark clarity, but that they refuse stand in judgment of this city, and its wanton destruction in an unrestrained grab for riches. In this sense, "Phantom Shanghai" is aptly titled: a true apparition of a unique period that will mark, perhaps even haunt, Shanghai for years to come.

While William Gibson penned the foreword to "Phantom Shanghai", by all accounts, he's never even been here, to the world's most overrated city.

I searched the Amazon website high and low trying to find a way to send an email voicing my displeasure at their essentially crediting this title to Gibson, but as with most once consumer friendly corporations these days, they make it virtually impossible to contact any actual person who might handle such consumer complaints.

If anybody at Amazon catches a glimpse of this commentary, I ask you to find a way to do right by the true author of "Phantom Shanghai", Greg Girard, and give him the lead billing he deserves for this book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking July 15, 2007
By Driver9
I almost completely agree with the other reviewers, including the outrageous mis-attribution of the author. The book is by Greg Girard, and only a short, and slightly hyper, forward belongs to Gibson.

As for the images, they are among the most haunting and beautiful you will ever see of an urban landscape. I believe the book is a masterpiece. This is made even more poignant by the fact that much (all?) of what was photographed is now gone. This is made even more glaring by the extraordinary size and, for me, vulgarity, of what has become the new Shangai. While the photographs themselves may make no indictment, I felt that the new skyline of Shanghai indicts itself by its sheer massive ugliness and by its blind march into the future. The only good news is that the skyscrapers are just as susceptible to the wrecking ball.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of a Magnificent Past December 24, 2007
By Magali
Most of us won't get to Shanghai in time to see the faded remains of its former glory before they're devoured by the crass forces of "progress." So run, do not walk, to purchase this superb collection of images, taken and commented upon by people sensitive to the beauty of this city.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantom Shanghai May 27, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is haunting. I expected photos of old buildings of different use and type. I did not expect the personal space photographs and the artful way they were presented. I did not expect the photographs to be so beautiful and so emotional. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book is art, not information. I love this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PHANTOM SHANGHAI REVIEW December 23, 2007
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have reading of Shanghai July 15, 2007
This book provides the reader a clear picture, as well as insight, into what Shanghai must have looked like in the past, the effects of the passage of time on its society and how it describes its resulting present-day reality.

The accompanying narrative sets a deeper understanding of the well-laid out and stunning photographs of featured buildings, structures, places, and other vestiges making them come to life and explain their past, present and future to the interested and animated reader.
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