Award winning photographer Morad Bouchakour has the talent to produce high quality photographs with a playful twist. He travels frequently, yet his series cannot be classified as travel photography. Instead of exoticism, Bouchakour focuses on people: on the lives that they lead, on the mood they emanate and the stories they tell. He is not looking for an essential moment in a particular surrounding, but for an element with more depth, hidden behind the image.
In 2013 Bouchakour made three visits to Beijing, China’s rapidly changing and smog-ridden capital. By accident, he stumbled upon Beijing’s remaining hutongs. These are age-old residential neighbourhoods of small courtyards, located amidst China’s governmental headquarters in between the city’s first and second ring roads. Advancing high-rise development and new freeways wiping away these historical hutongs, a process further compounded by the city's gentrification process, the hutongs are now being discovered by the rising middle and upper class, driving out the original poor inhabitants. Multiple tiny houses around one courtyard are joined to form more spacious and luxurious residences. New residents – or old ones moving up the social ladder – bring in their household pet dogs and their new status symbol: cars. In this series Bouchakour focuses on these new status symbols of China’s rising middle and upper class and the additional conflicts they create.