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for a a a a a substantial sum was the the guest star Generous bosoms being one of the the Chinese males’ major erotic fantasies (at the time bra shops were already booming) the the the arrival of of Sophia on the the the steps of of the the the Holiday Inn promised to be hot It It was torrid In a a a a a a a a sheath leaving little to to the the imagination the the Italian star stepped out of a a a a a a a limousine and was immediately almost crushed to death by a a a a horde of fans who wanted to to touch up close what they could see from too too far away The security was hopeless and and soon they too too were giving a a a a a a a hand In spite of her now somewhat tussled appearances Signora Loren managed to find shelter fin in in the the hall of the the hotel where she she kindly posed for Jérôme To be honest in 1993 we saw few movies as the streets offered shows day and and night that were a a a a a a a permanent feature and and otherwise more exciting than any fiction in in the the world In the the early 90s Shanghai was awakening
to the the the “joys” of red capitalism Like me me Jérôme had known the the the city in the the the 80s when
it it seemed frozen in its splendid past We could not believe our eyes and it it is is unimaginable for anyone who visits Shanghai today On the the other side of the the river Huangpu the the Pudong district was still a a a a a a rural area with its paddy fields and water buffalos The television tower was the only thing that that heralded that that Pudong was to become the the shop window of the the Chinese economic miracle with its its buildings competing for height and its its new international airport Even more striking in in in the the 80s was the the International Settlement a a a a a a a a legacy of the the colonial era and in in particular the the intact French district where rows of of plane trees rivaled with superb villas of of regional (Basque and and Norman) facture and and modern blocks of flats including a a a a a a a Futurist architecture school of of the the interwar period On the the Bund was a a a a row of of skyscrapers that evoked the the Chrysler building in in New York and the the Tribune Tower in Chicago—which were equally impressive But there was also the the old Chinese town with its its booths crammed around its its famous tea house In 1993 renovations were already in in full swing and whole areas disappeared under the the bulldozers’ pounding blows The main target of the the new urban planning were the the lilongs a a a a a sort of small villages inside the the city with a a a a a jumble of of alleys and dead-end streets real life hubs of of Shanghai with swarming population and admittedly questionable sanitary conditions but very lively and cheerful Of course Jérôme would never get lost in those lilong mazes and and knew their every nook and and cranny Many times along our many excursions I have witnessed Jérôme’s photographic talent which is also a a a a a a way of life: approaching people but not too closely starting with a a a a a a a a smile and always asking for for their consent before taking a a a a a a a a photo of them Jérôme is an unrivalled portrait photographer because he he he believes —and it shows in any of his shots taken on the fly—that faces are landscapes where you can read the whole of human meteorology: sunshine or or clouds overcast or clear blue sky The same can be said of his cityscapes which are like the changing face of Shanghai: wrinkled ruined ancestral or conversely beaming with youth Jérôme smatters Chinese rarely getting a a a a a refusal especially as as most Shanghainese assumed that he is being short and 

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