法国摄影师Bettina Rheims 1952年12月出生于巴黎,早期从事过模特和记者的工作,70年代后期拍摄脱衣舞演员和马戏团艺术家的照片,然后进入了繁忙的时装、肖像和广告拍摄领域。如今她的作品在世界各地展出,其中包括《现代恋人》(1990),《犹太人之王》(1999)——一本引起争议的和耶稣相关的书,画面中的耶稣或是身穿T恤或是裸体;书中还有十字架上殉难的妇女……

2003年,Bettina Rheims与作家Serge Bramly在上海这座城市生活了6个月后完成摄影集《上海》,Bettina Rheims描绘出这座城市不同背景的女性肖像。她是这样描述整个拍摄过程的:“八年前我曾经在上海呆了48个小时,和辛迪·克劳馥做一些公益活动。有一天我穿越了整个城市,走了大约12个小时。我看到了许多美丽而难以置信的事情。这是现代上海的发端,古老的中国也依然存在;从20世纪30年代到西方的现代交织在一起。最后我读到了一本描写当代上海的小说,使我明白了上海也有了性、毒品以及摇滚。这些东西在女性的身上又是如何反映的?于是我考虑可以拍摄10到15个城市中具有代表性的女性,但是这些女性都是如此具有个性,结果一直呆了六个月,拍摄了大约200名女性。老的,年轻的,无名的,富有的,贫穷的。”

The women of China are often pictured in the West with an outdated, stereotypical image of submissive and subjugated ladies, quietly waiting at the beck and call of men. But, as famed erotic photographer Bettina Rheims reveals in Shanghai, once visitors catch a glimpse of Shanghainese women, they will stand corrected.

Throughout China, the women of Shanghai are renowned for being beautiful and delicate creatures. But at home they are known as “tricky wives” who make their husbands do as they say. At the office, they are relentless professionals who display equal, if not more, competitiveness than the men. These women likewise take the lead all over China in fashion, displaying such decorous and audacious taste alike as to keep the country watching.

Once a walled village, Shanghai has now become China’s leading industrial city, expanding in such a rush as to leave even its residents in a swirl of expectations. Shanghai is hip, trendy, and young, the city with the highest developing business rate in the world, a place of history and tomorrow and, as is amply evident in Shanghai, a very sexy place. In a tour de force through this ancient city and fabled culture, Rheims beautifully stages photographs of real women from all walks of life. Engaged in an ardent search for the spirit of Shanghai’s women, Rheims and writer Serge Bramly instead found a place so fast-paced, so quickly evolving, that their quest was rendered moot. Western eyes could not define or encapsulate the ineffable essence of Shanghai’s women.   So much can be said of the women in Shanghai, the least of which is the ancient Chinese proverb: “Men have their say, but women have their way.”