4YFN Shanghai 2016

Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to join the team from 4YFN as part of the Mobile World Congress Shanghai event. This was my first time traveling to China, and I was quickly introduced to a vastly different, yet oddly similar, way of doing business.

The first project was getting a visa. Living in Europe, and being an American citizen, I often take it for granted that I’m more or less free to travel where ever I like. Not so much with China. In fact, the process involves receiving an invitation letter from a specific Chinese entity, in this case, the organising partners with MWC, and then a rather lengthy form to fill out before scheduling an appointment at a Chinese consulate.

Once I got an appointment, upon reading my application, the fact that I’m a professional photographer raised a few eyebrows. I had to provide specific examples of my previous works with 4YFN, and sign an affidavit that I would not be photographing any political figures or situations, and that the images I did produce were for 4YFN.

Once the necessary hoops were jumped through, and one looooong flight later, I was on the ground and ready to start shooting.

Much like the MWC/4YFN event that takes place in Barcelona each year, the event in Shanghai featured a mixture of trade show (MWC) and startup focused events (4YFN).

It was pretty interesting to see a primarily Asian focused audience and presenters, as although we all work in the same market, different cultures and ways of thinking have different approaches to the same challenges.

Having said that, what struck me about the Shanghai event was that although we were on the other side of the world, there were a number of similarities. In so much as startups, no matter if they came from China, Japan, Oman, or Egypt, were all incredibly passionate. Not only about their own product or offering, but about supporting others in making their dreams a reality.

All in all, a truly unique and humbling experience to think that my eyes and cameras provided me with the opportunity to experience this adventure. A HUGE thanks go out to the entire 4YFN team for having me.

Enjoy, and if you’d like to work with me … get in touch!

And there’s one more thing …

Of course there’s no way I was going to travel halfway around the world and not get a day’s worth of street shooting in.

Armed with my favourite combo of my Fujifilm X-T2 and 56mm and 10–24mm lenses I headed out for the day. Given that Shanghai is truly massive, there’s no way that I could even begin to present the entire city, and stuck to a few selected/recommended neighbourhoods.

Here are my favourite impressions from around Shanghai.