While much of the world is celebrating Marty McFly coming back to the future on October 21, 2015, some of us are taking a look back to the past. A Chinese newspaper recently republished a batch of famous photos by French photographer Louis-Philippe Messelier depicting 1930s Shanghai, bringing them back into the limelight.

In the 1930s, Louis-Philippe Messelier, a French teenager, journeyed to the Far East working a double-career in wool trade and journalism for the French Journal of Shanghai. Through his work he captured hundreds of pictures of the exotic charm of the back streets of Shanghai and also the daily lives of the average citizens.

While this is no DeLorean, here’s a chance to be taken back in history through a different kind of time machine.

▼ Junks on the Huang-pu River


▼ An old man eating noodles in his shop


▼ A duck farmer in the outskirts of the city


▼ A religious dignitary being taken around the city


▼ A group of men playing mahjong


▼ A snake charmer performs for a crowd.


▼ Fuzhou Street


▼ Performers in a street theater


▼ Shanghai was a destination for Japanese travelers as well.


▼ Fashionable people at the racecourse


▼ Shanghai’s been a busy place for quite a while!


We see and hear a lot about Shanghai in the news these days, being the still-growing metropolis that it is. However, it’s nice to get a glimpse of the Shanghai of nearly a century ago too. While many things have changed, it still retains much of its charm and culture that was so evident in the 1930s.

Source: Photography of China via Shanghaiist
Images: Photography of China, NetEase