Selected Gelatin Sliver Prints
10x 8 inch, 8 x 6 inch
Mar 2019 ongoing project
'I don't really like me doing portrait, because I tend to control the figure's postures, or they tend to perform themselves, with the lens in between. However, when I ask the figure turn their back to the camera, or photograph strangers without showing their whole face, I feel like they can be free from my control to some extent. The figures can consider their own business, and they are unaware of the certain moments they are photographed. Meanwhile, I adjust myself to reach a vantage point and then shoot the picture. On the other hand, the figures are also not free, because the background, the focus, the frame, the moment and all other elements- even the permission for photographing- are all my decisions. In a way, photograph is soft, carrying parts of life of the individual, though photograph is also domineering, showing the photographer's subjectivity.
This photographing process reminds me of the scene when a person is undergoing psychoanalysis. The person keeps lying down and talking to themself, pretending the therapist's absence, but the therapist is just around them. After a session the therapist would review and analyse the record, just as I make the prints from the negatives in the darkroom, trying to understand myself.
I am very interested in spontaneity, unpredictability and the unknowability. I often make a group of prints from one negative in the darkroom, repeating a similar working process in the group. I would create a condition that things could happen, such as the condition for the chemicals to react. I would not completely calculate the reaction, and I cannot do that too. It is the chemistry creating the prints as well. I cannot really control the chemistry in a way, what I can do is waiting for it happening and then responding to what has happened- sometimes the unpredictable, the unexpected and the unknown. Mostly, people tend to respond to those by instinct, especially when those need to be dealt with very quickly. For me, it is a repeated working process as well, to keep getting lost and then trying to find a way to return, and in the process I only focus on making without deep consideration. When I review the prints after they are done, it is the reflecting process for me to understand myself, as if having conversation with the deep I (the subconscious mind).
Personally, my photos are not necessary about the narration of stories, the nature and sublime, the nostalgic landscapes, or the relationship between human and nature. I am more interested in the imagination about the figures’ perception on the surroundings, the relationships between the figures and me, the camera and me, or the conscious I and subconscious I, when I photograph people in my way- asking them to turn their back to me, or to walk in front of me, and candidly photographing.'