Chongqing 5 (2005/08)
Chongqing 5 (2005/08)
Maurits Rozema

From the series City of Ambition
by <a href="">Ferit Kuyas</a>

City of Ambition is a visit to one of the largest cities in the world, Chongging. I am showing cityscapes as the sheer dimensions of the city are very impressive to me. Like most of my work also this project has autobiographic roots:I got to know the city through my family-in-law who lives there and makes me feel at home.

Chongqing was granted municipal status in 1997, rather late compared to Shanghai. Now the people of Chongging are very eager to show how powerful they are. With the booming economy this leads to an explosion in city development. What is taking place there resembles the ongoings in Manhattan in the Twenties- when Manhattan was
built. Stieglitz' words "City of Ambition", which he used to describe the Manhattan of those days describes the situation in Chongging quite well. The people of Chongqing are on their way to build a megalopolis.

Despite that, I am mainly interested in the outskirts of Chongging, where the city can't be really seen but sensed, like a tiger moving through the jungle- invisible, yet there. Construction sites and places of change show metaphorical facets of the huge shift taking place in contemporary China. The fog dominating most pictures is real. It reflects the big mystery China still is for me. Often it feels like moving trough a surreal scenery.

This body of work definitely has a documentary component. The ability to transport emotions through my imagery is yet equally important to me. I believe that the combination of the two is vital for a strong and lasting impression.

The immense size of the city, cold, heat, humidty, fog, dust and traffic turned this project into an adventure. Travel logistics required me to limit my equipment. I worked with 4x5" color negative film and restricted myself to one exposure per image.

Astonishingly, Chongqing is an unknown place for most people in the Western World. The city is located in Southwest China's region of Sichuan. Chongging was the capital of China during World War II Today the municipality is populated by approx. 32 million people. The images in the project are from several visits to Chongqing from 2005 to 2008.