Text by Yuying Yang
- Edited by Erik Bernhardsson
- 64 pages
- 4.5 x 6 inch
- 60 photographs from the streets of inner Beijing
- US Trade Paper
- Published by Modes in Oct 01 2013
‘I like amusing atmosphere, not just the inner city but also people’s emotions.’ said by Cao Di for his one and only publication: Inner City.
As Walter Benjamin described, Flâneur– a figure of modern urban spectator–is an alienation of capitalistic city. He is no longer a human being but an invisible role hidden in crowd. The same as Cao’s situation, his works have never been shown in any exhibitions or galleries. It becomes a really personal observation to the city and life he lives in.
Cao’s pictures are like his collection. The targets in his pictures including passerby, advertisement leaflets, slogans on the wall etc, they are very normal images that we can see everyday. Cao said he find them very interesting so he took pictures of them. ‘I felt I occupied them, just like collecting stuff. They became mine when I press the shutter.’
As an amateur photographer, Cao described taking pictures as a way of seeking the answers. ‘ For example, I don’t know why I live so I shoot. After taking, I still have no idea but at least I got an excuse. Photography is my excuse for living.’
In his book Inner City, you can see a lot of ‘non-sense’ pictures. They don’t have a deep meaning or hint hide behind them. They are the most honest depiction of the city, almost bored the audiences because they are the view we see everyday through our eyes. But at the same time, the photographer does manage to add a fantasy in. Like the red shoes on a middle-aged woman’s feet, a sky-liked billboard behind a sitting man, a cartoon bag carried by an old man, they are quite amusing and even funky if we take a serious look on them. The reason why we ignore them is numb. We have seen too much in this city so we lost out sensitivity, and thanks for photographer like Cao Di, bring back his Flâneur’s observation for us.