manuel alvarez diestro has traveled across asia’s main coastal cities for a two-year period to photograph the mega ports of busan, ulsan, hong kong, shanghai, singapore, jakarta, quingdao, tokyo, and kaohsiung. reflecting on their role as key enablers of globalization, the photo series also explores the ever-increasing role of technology and automated machinery in their development and eventual homogeneity.

manuel alvarez diestro documents the machine-filled landscapes of asian mega ports designboom
hong-kong port, china
all photographs © manuel alvarez diestro

 

 

‘as world commerce expands and offshoring has become widespread, a large percentage of manufactured goods begin their journey in asian ports, while shipbuilding has become a purely asian craft,’ notes manuel alvarez diestro. within this context, the photographer has captured the soul of these places, ‘where sea water, steel, and concrete converge in the territory.’ the images highlight the lack of human presence amidst the massive-scale infrastructure, in which workers become mere operators of indistinguishable locations whose main standing pillars comprise globalization, ocean and freight.


tokyo port, japan

 

 

the photographs depict cranes, engines, containers, tugboats, wharfs, and panamax ships as the main visual features of all asian mega ports, emphasizing the eerie commonality across them. ‘all locations are interchangeable, awash with technology, by-products of globalization, lacking the human heritage that purports the long standing cultural traditions of the inhabitants in their nations,’ the spanish photographer points out. ‘it is a story of men harnessing the sea, port technology enabling land – sea interchange and urban sprawl encroaching to the very border of the machine-dominated, vast landscapes that dot the asian coastline.’ 


qingdao port, china


busan port, south korea


busan new container terminal, south korea


ulsan port, south korea


singapore port, singapore


shanghai new container terminal, china


ulsan port, south korea


qingdao port, china


busan port, south korea


kaohsiung port, taiwan

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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