Totems is a new photographic series by French photographer Alain Delorme that looks at the new pillars of society - goods "Made in China". These precarious towers of chairs, bottles, toys, cardboard boxes and other products transported through the streets of Shanghai via bike bring to light the paradoxes of China's most dynamic city. Delorme purposely edits and alters the images to manufacture an "augmented reality" -- one that is exaggerated, but not unrealistic. Men really do transport delicately balanced towers of goods on bike throughout the city.
“Totems” is the result of Delorme’s two residencies in Shanghai and his fascination with the migrant worker. The vertical nature of the towers echos the looming facades and skyscrapers in the background as well as the expansion and construction of new urbanity. Workers, who have transported themselves to the city on their bikes, are depicted with the near superhuman ability to carry extraordinary loads of manufactured goods across town.
The towers of goods become almost sculptures themselves, and great care was taken to balance the unbelievable loads and protect the goods along their bicycle route. Is this a look at how we have become worshipers of manufactured goods or a look at how we have become servants and slaves to them? The answer is likely a bit of both. Delorme’s photographic works take root in reality, but they have been carefully composed to produce an exaggerated perspective and drive his point home.