In his series Dust Never Sleeps, Italian street photographer Alessandro Zanoni aims to document the urbanisation of Shanghai and the changing neighbourhoods and heritage architecture. Although his images reveal the effects of fast city growth and all its associated flaws, Zanoni is in fact head over heels in love with Shanghai's urban landscapes, and is a regular visitor to its streets.
Speaking to Shanghai Street Stories, he said: "I guess that what strikes observant visitors in China the most is the quick growth of the country. A growth that probably does not care too much about people history, traditions, health or happiness. A growth also relating to the unprecedented mass migration of people from countryside to the megalopolis. With my shots, I’m trying to convey this feeling to Westerners who have never been to Shanghai before. It’s a sort of alienation that in my country, Italy, for example, it was thoroughly documented in the fifties and in the sixties, especially in some cinematic masterpieces.
"After World War II in Europe, we experienced strong urbanisation trend because war had destroyed most of the cities. In Italy, this process was not totally 'clean' but sometimes subjected to bribes and 'black money'. The people’s happiness was not on the top list of priorities for politicians and big developers. People were forced to leave the countryside to move to big cities in order to work: they lost any genuine contact (with their hometowns) and many of the human relationships were broken. Hence, people were actually 'empty' like the buildings in my photos. Desolate, alone, and broken: a strong visual metaphor of human beings. Where is the focus? Where is the direction? They were completely lost."