And The City Swallowed Them

This photographic essay by Aksel Coruh forms a companion to the eponymous book written by Mara Hvistendahl which follows the story of Canadian model Diana O'Brien who was stabbed in a Shanghai stairwell in 2008. A selection of images was featured in Hvistendahl’s book, which was published as the debut title from the writer’s collective Deca.

And The City Swallowed Them


This photographic essay forms a companion to the eponymous book written by Mara Hvistendahl. It follows the story of Canadian model Diana O'Brien, who was stabbed in a Shanghai stairwell in 2008, just twelve days after arriving in the city on a three-month modelling contract.

The series compiles photographs taken over an extended period in a variety of locations, including Diana’s birthplace of Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Victoria, Beijing, and Shanghai. The narrative is split into two parts, beginning in Canada and ending in the apartment stairwell where O’Brien was murdered, while along the way visiting key sites that tie back to the book. The images attempt to portray the contrast between the tranquil landscapes of British Columbia and the estranged congestion of Shanghai’s urban fabric.

A selection of images was featured in Hvistendahl’s book, which was published as the debut title from the writer’s collective Deca.

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