Alain Delorme’s photo series ‘Totems’ is a homage to couriers of Shanghai adeptly carrying neat stacks of burdens on their vehicles. These vibrant and vivid images capture everyday life of ordinary people, while materializing it as an insightful and subtle access to the world of underprivileged Chinese society.
While the piles of bottles, card boxes, chairs, old cables or even cut flowers seem like conceptual sculptures, the photographer with Photoshop turned the working people of Shangai into a real-life heroes and artists. After discovering this “extended reality”, the bystander can’t do nothing but just question the paradoxes of consumer culture and wealth distribution. The Paris-based photographer Alain Delorme created the photographs in a period between 2009- 2011, during his two artistic residencies in Shangai, organized by Ailing Foundation. “I took 6000 photos to create the final series of 18 images. Using Photoshop, I increased the amount of goods to give the impression that the carrier is being engulfed … This is to represent how our obsession with consuming the ‘Made in China’ products they carry creates a kind of slavery,” explained Delorme in an interview to The Guardian about his extraordinary project.
All images © Alain Delorme