Tang Ting: Documenting Shanghai one shot at a time

Tang Ting: Documenting Shanghai one shot at a time

Shanghai-based photographer Tang Ting explains what makes his shutter click
On CNNGo TV this month...

Get CNNGo TV’s full interview of China’s star blogger Han Han here.

Plus here is where you find the lowdown on Shanghai’s fabulous upstart fashion designers, what Shanghai’s fiercest food critic Shen Hongfei’ favorite restaurants are, and the reformation of cultish indie quartet Bang Bang Tang.

For the latest on CNNGo TV check out our blog, and our map guide to the locations and people that made up this month's program.

You might not have heard of the name Tang Ting yet, but as a photographer providing the world with an insider's look into ever-changing Shanghai, particularly focusing on its youth culture and struggles, he's unlikely to remain unknown for long.

Tang TingA chance encounter with a camera and Tang Ting the artist was born.Already he regularly features in the pages of the city's hipster publications, from Urban and City Pictorial, to iLook. He first popped up in the popular consciousness with an appearance at Dada's photographer's night, and quickly became known for his live music photos.

“It’s hard to define my style. At first glance, my photos may not appear outstanding to you, but one or two small details will get you think and wonder once you take a close look. I pay a lot of attention to details,” says Tang Ting, who also admits that he wouldn’t go out without a camera. Tang Ting still shoots with film, resisting a move to digital.

Shooting cities

Although now based in Shanghai, he says: “I can’t say Shanghai has completely influenced my style. Although I was born here, I moved to Ningbo at the age of four and came back for university.”

So where does he look for inspiration then? “I take a lot of photos along the Zhejiang Zhong Lu, near Suzhou Creek," says Tang Ting. "That’s because I grew up in this area. It gives me a lot to reminisce and think about. Cities are my inspiration. I always live and travel to cities.”

Explore more of CNNGo TV's adventures in Shanghai

Nowadays, whenever Tang Ting has time, he wanders around the city looking for subjects to shoot, camera in hand.

“If you look at my series Slow Dream, you would see most of them are about the scenery, but there are a few of them that are highlighted by the placement of the person,” says Tang Ting. “For example, there is a photo of the railway in this series. A person is holding a torch in the picture. I liked the feeling of this place but felt something was missing, so I tried to place a person somewhere. The person becomes the highlight in the end, and he brings up the atmosphere. I really like the result. By the way, that guy is me.”

Hiroshi Fujiwara in Hong Kong.


Hiroshi Fujiwara in Hong Kong.

Fang Zhou, a singer-songwriter.


Guaili, Beijing-based band.


33, lead singer of Shanghai-based band Boojii.


Untitled portrait.


Untitled landscape, Shanghai.


Untitled, Guangxi.


Untitled, Beijing.


Untitled, Beijing.


Untitled, Nha Trang.


Swimming pool, Hong Kong.


A commercial for Adidas Super Star.


More about Tang Ting:
Tang Ting got into photography by accident. When studying information management in the university, his roommate brought over a camera and left it around. After borrowing the camera a few times, Tang was hooked. Once merely a hobby, Tang Ting's photography has now made him one of Shanghai's most popular artists.

Shooting everything from portraits to high fashion and daily life, Tang Ting's honest portrayal of modern China’s post-1980s generation is leaving a lasting impression on the local photography scene.

To see more of Tang Ting's work, go to www.tangting.net.