What can you say about a city with 24 million people? Nothing really, it’s too big and there are too many stories to tell. But photos can help explain the weird, wild and wonderful metropolis on occasion, especially ones that obliterate the already thin margins of personal space that locals here offer up. Chinglish shirts, entire families on a single scooter, the weary, the excited, the startled circumstances that defy explanation. There’s no commentary or opinion involved, just Shanghai and its people… observed.
Alex Greenberg is the man behind the account, an American who moved to the massive metropolis of Shanghai some years ago and fell in love with it. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of stories that can be told in such a vast city, he decided to start a website where he could document the quirks and oddities of everyday life there, which he called Shanghai Observed. The page now has nearly 70k followers, and people can't get enough of his shrewd sightings. Scroll down to check some of our faves out for yourself, and learn more about Alex's project!
As China's economy and influence around the world continue to grow, we in Western countries will gradually acquaint ourselves better with the language, culture and way of life of this vast and ancient civilization. As anyone who has ever been to China before will tell you, it really is an exciting, diverse and unique country!
Alex Greenberg moved to the massive metropolis of Shanghai some years ago and fell in love with it. Inspired by the many bizarre things he encountered every day, particularly the weird and wonderful texts found on people's clothing, he decided to start a website where he could document the quirks and oddities of everyday life in the city, which he called Shanghai Observed.
Living in such a different and interesting place means that he is never short of material, and he finds himself confronted with all kinds of surprises every single day. "I’ve been in Shanghai for 4 years and I love how fast the city moves," Alex told Bored Panda.
"Shanghai has a great skate scene which is what drove me to move here in the first place. It's an amazing city to explore and stumble across startled circumstances that defy explanation."
"I started the account in November 2016. I made the account because I had just gotten a new iPhone 7, and it took surprisingly great photos. I also wanted to start a daily photo project. The daily photo project was focused on forcing me to shoot more street photography and shoot photos that would show daily life in Shanghai. Stuff my friends and family would be interested in seeing."
"When the account started to grow and I gained a following I started to get submissions from other people at that point I began to post only the best of the best. The types of situations I like to share are ones that make you double take or say 'wtf.' One of the most common things I post on my Instagram is people wearing shirts that say ridiculous things on them."
"I'm guessing 99% of the time these people have no idea what the shirt says because they don’t speak English. This makes for an amazing photo because you often see a great juxtaposition between what the person's face says, and what the shirt says. I love photos and videos that instantly make you laugh or question what is happening. Shanghai seems to share that every day."
Many people have speculated where the weird shirts come from, and whether those wearing them actually know what they mean. Over 10 million people in China speak English fluently, however out of a population of more than 1.3 billion, that's fewer than 1 in 100 people. We will let you decide!
As a follow up to a previous post that Alex uploaded on Bored Panda, we decided to present some more Shanghai strangeness for your viewing pleasure. And although Alex is busy observing Shanghai, he still manages to keep an eye on his homeland too through his hilarious sister account, America Observed. Check it out!