Azim Haidaryan: Shanghai Dream

The Photographer Conjures the Golden City's Heyday in his Stunning Period Series

Photographer Azim Haidaryan captures the hazy, jazz-imbued spirit of 1930s Shanghai at the city's famed Chedun Film Studios. Located in the Songjiang District two hours outside of the metropolis, the 400,000-square-meter compound houses life-size replicas of colonial China and serves as the backdrop to hundreds of movies and TV shows each year. “Everywhere else in China you feel like you have about five centimeters of space. There is never emptiness, but we found that here. It was so beautiful and eerie,” says the Afghanistan-born, Paris-based photographer who has shot campaigns for the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Lancôme and Cartier, and editorials for Vogue China, GQ and W magazine. To create the shoot's timeless aesthetic Haidaryan enlisted the help of fashion designer and costumier Han Feng, who won critical acclaim when she dressed Anthony Minghella’s production of Madame Butterfly. “Most things feel very new in China today, so to find this set and be transported back to this country’s rich history was really quite touching," explains Haidaryan. "Han’s clothing captured that journey perfectly.”

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