Philippe Roy hat in Shanghai die erste, harte Phase der Krise bereits hinter sich gebracht und arbeitet wieder. Und die Aussichten auf mehr Jobs stehen nicht schlecht, auch wenn sie weniger gut bezahlt sind. Dazu und noch mehr haben die #FacesOfPhotography ihn gefragt:
How are you in these strange times?
I come from the future, in a way. Our crisis in Shanghai started in January… My wife left China with the children, thinking Australia would be safer… just to come back before the border closed to all but national citizens of China.
So, the short answer is: I am well. I’m here with all my family members. Life is starting anew, I’m working on projects, both at home with my hands as well as photography assignments for clients.
The acute crisis in China has been overcome for the time being – what did you work on during this time and what are you working on now?
I am already working. I have shot two assignments this month, one that was suspended back in January. And the enquiries are coming in very big numbers as many have left the country, leaving a few international photographers here in China.
During the thick of the quarantine, I started ordering parts to build a cinewhoop. Learning about electricity, wiring, sodering and… flying! It took a LOT of hours for this old monkey to learn new tricks. But now, I have a new feather in my cap and a new service I can offer my clients.
Is it already clear what the crisis means for the photography industry in Shanghai?
The impact is mixed. A lot of clients are eager to shoot. Since a lot of countries around the world are in lockdown and cannot shoot, many look to us here in China to fill that need. Though that is exciting, budgets are reduced as the financial impact of the crisis seems to be hitting us all. Agency assignments are 30% down on budget, which is not great.
Having people on set for larger productions is also changed. Where everyone is required to have the “green QR code” and wear a mask. (The “Green QR code” is an app developed by the Chinese government and is linked to your identity papers and follows your phone. So they can tell if you have been to a “hot” area and need to be quarantined. A Green QR code means “go” and a Red QR code means you need to quarantine. Without the Green QR code you cannot access most buildings, including hospitals that are not marked as “fever hospitals”.)
Do you think that ways of seeing and visual languages will change against the background of the crisis?
It is hard to stay positive these days, but like many of my fellow artists, I find solace in creativity, in keeping my hands, my brain and my eyes busy. At home or outside. It has been amazing to see through the cloud of conspiracy theories an island of creators that took to confinement by liberating their minds and creative juices.
What is your personal photographic wish for the time after the crisis?
A wish for a better understanding of each other. That no matter where we are in the world we are made of the same cloth, that problems and issues are not regional anymore but global and affect us all. I wish for a banding of the arts to unite and speak through the lens.
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