Shanghai is a city that tries to keep up with its habitants’ insatiable consumerism, and Alain Delorme’s Totems is a testament to this fact. A common sight in the streets of Shanghai are porters on bicycles, motorcycles or wooden carts, balancing an astounding amount of goods with the grace of a tightrope walker.

After photographing various courriers and porters, Delorme used Photoshop to create an exaggerated version of their wares. The porters ultimately end up looking like superheroes with superhuman balancing powers, and as someone who lived in Shanghai, that isn’t far from the truth. But from another perspective, Totems also hints at the workers’ vulnerability against the overwhelming volume they carry.

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