A few hundred meters away from my shanghai apartment stands one of the most luxurious and impressive apartment building in the city: 41 HengShan road. Occupying the last 2 floors of this building live Pearl Lam – the queen of the chinese art world. Starting the “contrast gallery ” in hong kong in 1992, she slowly became a central person in the development of the Chinese Art. Her apartment is an incredible overly decorated space, with both art pieces and furniture made by famous chinese artist and designer. In the western wing of the 22nd floor, the space is dedicated for guests – a big table is set up to welcome about 60 guests for dinner parties. As we were setting up for the photo, the scottish “maitre de maison” told me that dinner parties were quite regular and how Anna Wintour and other high figures were regular guests to Pearl’s parties. On each corner of the floor, small terraces, featuring extensive plants and vegetations are overlooking the cities. From one of them, I can see my own terrace which seems much lower than where i am standing, like lost in between common buildings… As Pearl, arrives, she seems quite stressed & busy and gives the usual ” you have 5 minutes ! ” As I start shooting, we slowly engaged in conversation and the atmosphere ease up real quick. We spend a lot of time talking why “Hasselblad” is still a much better camera than modern DSLR and we end up debating on the current DSK case in new york. After the classic shot for the book ( Made by Chinese ), I bring her to a more personal set up to get a glimpse of Pearl Lam – up close. As I try to break into her she refuses to let go a smile.. I ask her then to get angry at me and this is how i got my last shot.
if you want to know more about her, read the excellent new york times article here