The Shanghai Literary Review is honored and excited to announce the winner of our Issue Two Cover Art Contest: Olufemi Lawal, for his photograph "Cracks." Lawal's piece will be used as the cover of our next issue, forthcoming in December 2017.
On shooting "Cracks," Lawal told TSLR:
"For me, humans are the most interesting subjects to photograph. I mostly take photos of friends and after every photo shoot I feel like I've gotten to see a different aspect to that person. Capturing moments that go by too quickly in real life to really take note of, moments that they don't get to see in selfies and 'perfect photos' to post online.
Njeri (the model photographed in 'Cracks') is a very warm and kind person who has the most beautiful smile and smiles a lot! But knowing her I could also tell that she has a lot of depth; a side to her that most people don't get to see, and this rarely seen side was what I was hoping to capture.
While scouting for locations on that chilly July morning in Tianjin, We came across this abandoned building that had been marked for demolition.
In the building there was a lot of debris all around, there was feces on the ground, and signs of habitation in some rooms. We made our way to one of the top floors which looked completed abandoned.
There was something about the vibe of the place: the decay, the sunlight breaking in through places where windows used to be, the cracks in the wall, the remnants of what used to be someone's home. That vibe gave the photo shoot some solemnity and it was during one of those moments of solemnity that 'Cracks' was taken.
For me the photo represents the unique cracks each of us have and the endless quest of trying to improve ourselves."
Olufemi Lawal is a Nigerian artist based in China. He spends his time on creative pursuits like photography, poetry, singing, song writing and improv.
Njeri Kamau is a Kenyan model and student. Currently based in Tianjin, China, she spends her free time reading philosophy books, travelling and teaching.
All shortlisted finalists for the Winter 2017 Cover Art Contest have been accepted as visual pieces within the magazine, as well as additional photographs by Lawal. Thank you to everyone who submitted.
To pre-order a copy of Issue Two (currently being edited and prepared for the printing presses), please visit our online store.
Our Issue Two launch parties will be held in Shanghai, on Saturday, December 16 at My Place Ruin Bar & in New York City, on Thursday, January 18 at The Asian American Writers Workshop. Stay tuned for details.