REVERIES: Guangzhou

From the afterword by Serge J-F. Levy

David Zheng’s family fled China in 1983. He was born and raised on the Lower East Side of New York City. While he is technically not a native of China, his family imported firm roots in traditional Chinese culture. And his home was built upon these values. However, beyond his doorstep lay what he refers to as “McDonald’s culture” and American society at large.


Even though the photos are by and large spare in their composition, as an aggregate they drop us into a complex binary; one where humankind’s unrelenting march toward progress sidles up to a traditional way of life. A viewer might experience a sense of a society that is so hurried, it can neither catch up to itself nor reflect upon what could be lost, an experience that no developing country can avoid in its race to become a superpower.


A pivotal time in Chinese history when tradition physically and metaphorically mingles with modernity. His photos gives us the opportunity to study this moment carefully, to revisit it, and to try and figure out what is happening. This book is an opportunity to contemplate what may be lost and to imagine what might be gained. And Reveries is a reminder that if you close your eyes for too long, the world may never look like what you once remembered it to be.