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JCP Travel Map

Explore the work of Jonathan Chapman through featured locations.

“I’m Lovin’ It” - Shanghai, China Vol. 1

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

While the necessities of international travel such as passports, visas, and carnet forms, seem long behind us the images resulting from our week long shoot in Shanghai, China continue to stir in our minds and circulate some unforgettable memories.  Getting a call to produce a project of this size, scope, and distance away from home couldn't have been more exciting.

The 2 1/2 week tour began in Montreal, Canada and then routed us to Chicago where we boarded a direct flight to Shanghai, China.  Nearly fifteen hours later we arrived in a place just a month before we had no idea we would be venturing to.  Exhaustion from travel turned to elation upon boarding our taxi with all our gear having safely made the voyage.  Inside our taxi, a late model Buick with white gloved driver, we slowly crept into this legendary city with a population of over 23 million. 

Shanghai is a complicated mix of old and new happening simultaneously.  The skyline along the Bund is well known and even more impressive in person than reading or seeing it in printed form.  The modern skyscrapers shooting up to dizzying heights are visible evidence of the progress happening in Shanghai while the older iconic sections of the city seem a little more hidden and understated, although no less important.  This shift from old to new is happening at a very fast rate in China as a whole with the continued progress and success of Shanghai as a shining star at center stage.

Although our time was brief, we did have a chance to familiarize ourselves with a little of the old and the new in the largest city in the world.  The project for McDonald's involved capturing stills and motion, working with real people in fully operational restaurants.  Shooting took us to the hustle and bustle of the inner city as well as to the suburbs nearly two hours outside of central Shanghai.  Working with the support of two local bilingual PA's we were fully immersed and felt graciously welcomed at every location.  Much to their credit our in market PA's are essential to the success of a shoot so far away from home.  In a short time they become part of our temporary traveling circus like family and in the end we are sad to see our time come to an end. With their help we came away with a library of visuals that offer a truly authentic look at McDonald's in China from both the employee and customer point of view.

Upon departing Shanghai our travels took us onward through Singapore and into Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.  Our return flight from Sydney to Minneapolis had us traveling backwards in time.  We left on a Monday at 3 p.m. and returned some 20+ hours later on the same Monday at 7 p.m.  It took nearly a full week to mentally and physically recover, yet the experience felt like a true "once in a lifetime" opportunity.  Big thanks to producer Matthew Slimmer for working on the ground in Minneapolis, helping negotiate the web of visas, carnets, and nuances of connecting flights.

It's our pleasure to present some of our favorite still images from our time in Shanghai.  Keep an eye out for an accompanying motion piece that will be coming out soon.