Out With the Old, In With the New: Photos that Show the Modernization of China


Photographer Christopher Domakis has photographed both sides of the urban coin in China. Through two unrelated photo series, Hutong and Microcosm, he has managed to juxtapose the quiet closeness of the narrow Hutong alley neighborhoods of Beijing with the hustle and bustle of the rapidly growing urban developments in many of China’s biggest cities.

Beyond what they say when placed next to each other, each photo series has its own purpose. The Hutong photos were all taken at night, an exploration of the peacefulness and silence of these old districts. Some of these areas are smack in the middle of Beijing, providing a “warm and friendly atmosphere” you would only expect far away from the city.

Microcosm, on the other hand, is a juxtaposition in its own right. “These pictures interpret different layers of life in Chinese mega cities down to single individuals representing life inside residential environments,” says Domakis.

“Huge development areas with lots of massive residential ‘towers’ and enormous separated complexes of buildings, at the scale of a district, represent the current face and (sometimes) surreal scenery of Chinese housing at the edge of a city.”

Here’s a selection of photos from both series:











Presented side-by-side, we get to see both the old and the new China. And even as the latter expands and grows, the former is disappearing. Someday soon, the old Hutong districts may become a thing of the past, and the closeness that the neighborhoods provide might very well disappear along with them.

To see the rest of the photos from either the Hutong or Microcosm series, click on their respective links or head over to Domakis’ website here.

(via Gizmodo)

Image credits: Photographs by Christopher Domakis.

  • man

    never any graffiti in china !

  • hongkonger

    kidding? the model one is Hong Kong ! not beijing!!

  • HKonger

    Some shots are from Hong Kong!

  • Dominic

    I am sure that the first modern picture is from a district called Tai Po, in Hong Kong, which is my neighbourhood

  • Raymond Larose

    I really enjoy Christophers work, especially in the night-shots in the Hutong areas. Just beautifully done. The Yin and Yang of this series is quite powerful.

  • Chris

    I’m actually quite disappointed that PetaPixel just misunderstands the content of two complete series and didn’t even read the text from Gizmodo where they are referring to. Otherwise they would have understood the context and realize that the modern pictures weren’t taken in Beijing at all!

  • DLCade

    You’re totally right, and thank you to you and the other commenters who pointed out that mistake! We’ve gone ahead and corrected the text :)