Shanghai-based photographer and videographer Joe Nafis visited the small fishing village of Houtouwan on the Chinese island of Shengshan with fellow photographer Dave Tacon. It took them nearly 36 hours to reach the village due to lack of ferries or connection with other towns in the area. Once in town, Nafis explored the area on foot, as well as from above with his drone. The area has been abandoned since the 1990s. Due to increased competition with nearby Shanghai and a depleted fishing supply, residents were forced to find work in other towns, leaving their own coastal village to the whim of Mother Nature. Today the ghost town is only visited by tourists curious to see the vine-wrapped homes and other buildings swallowed by untamed greenery. You can view drone footage from the photographer’s visit to the overgrown village and an aerial time-lapse video focusing on Shanghai’s urban development over the last seven years on his website, and more video-based projects by Nafis can be found on his Instagram Page and Vimeo.
“Using the drone to explore the village first was a good idea as the paths were not well maintained and overgrown.”
“Some of the buildings were in tatters, while others looked like they were going through a remodel. It was all very strange.”