When Dutch photographer and filmmaker Marc Ressang first arrived in Shanghai five years ago, he was fresh out of university and nearly broke all of the time. To make ends meet during those first few years in Shanghai, he did a lot of nightlife photography. Ressang originally came to Shanghai from the Netherlands for an internship in marketing, but later decided to turn his hobby into a full-time gig.
“In Shanghai, I still like shooting late at night,” he says, “There is always something unexpected. I bring a small camera with me every time I step out of the house, just in case I run into something weird.” There is always “plenty of weird stuff going on late at night”, according to Marc, especially in a city like Shanghai. One of the most extravagant things he ever witnessed while he was out shooting was “when one of China’s richest men walked into a nightclub, ordered 140 bottles of Dom Perignon, sprayed 10 of them, had a few sips and then walked out again.”
“Fast forward three years, and I just couldn’t keep up physically with going out five nights a week until the early morning,” Marc admits. Needless to say, staying up every night also prevented him from being productive and having a life during the day. “Having so many interesting nightlife shots that never got published – the promoters usually weren’t very interested in photos of their patrons making fools out of themselves,” he explains, “I decided to put together a one-night-only photo exhibition at Basement 6 to show the 100+ pics that never made the cut.” And so, his photo series When the Sun Goes Down in the East was born.
Marc承认: “三年之后，一周通宵达旦个五次，我的身体就实在吃不消了。”自不必说，这样的方式让他在日间无法拥有好的工作效率和正常的生活。“我有太多有意思的夜生活摄影作品没有发布出来——推广人员通常都不愿意在照片里看到他们顾客出丑的样子。”他解释道，“我决定把这些照片放到Basement 6，做一个只展一个晚上的图片展览，展出上百张没有被采用的摄影作品。”于是，他的《When the Sun Goes Down in the East》图片系列就此诞生。
Ressang describes his photographic style as being “observational, real, and (even) cynical at times”. He tries not to fall into clichés or repeat himself, admitting that he can get bored pretty quickly. Regardless, he always tries to have a camera on hand when he is out and about. His main goal is to document culture in its every form, which could be anything from quirky dog outfits that he sees on the streets of China, to ancient religious rituals on a tropical island in Southeast Asia. He makes an effort not to romanticize other cultures, and tries to show that a lot of elements are actually universal or similar to our own culture.
As a filmmaker, Marc Ressang has also adopted a more documentary approach with his subjects. His sense of composition and timing from his photographic work has had a huge influence on his approach to filmmaking. As a result, he says that he tends to work quite fast and doesn’t usually worry about details, for better or for worse.
For Marc, filmmaking is now his main bread and butter – but he enjoys taking photos more than anything. As a result, he has decided to keep photography as his passion project instead of forcing himself to make a living out of it. Currently Marc is trying to get a foothold in documentary projects for both photo and video. At the moment, he is chasing a number of cultural stories in the far corners of China and around Southeast Asia, but they are all self-funded and unsponsored trips.