“I have seen the future and it is now and it is China.” So says American photographer Christopher Anderson of his latest project, Approximate Joy, which explores the face of youthful ambition through a series of images captured in Shanghai, China’s financial capital, and Shenzhen, the city that has become the centre of the country’s tech industry. Shot on the street in extreme close-up and thus stripped of context, Anderson’s pictures capture the mixture of hope and sadness that typifies the “anonymous megalopolis”. “There’s a certain melancholy in the faces,” he says. “Perhaps I am just projecting the isolation that I personally experience when I am there. But I think it is a universal idea that hopes and dreams are infused with anxiety and frustration . . . maybe even fear.”

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