Saturday, June 05, 2010

On Photography- Christina Xiong

I'm intrigued by the use of photography as a medium for "imagining the
future". As Chang Tsong-Zung suggests, Chinese contemporary
photography cannot be interpreted in a single way; it can be read in
many different contexts because people, with their distinct
backgrounds and perspectives, all bring a different narrative to this
visual art. Throughout my own life, photography existed as a way to
make, preserve and recollect memories. From taking pictures for our
class yearbook to creating snapshots of scenery in Yunnan,
photography, to me, served the purpose of reminding myself of youth,
of places I've been to and what I've experienced as a human being.
During my visit to the Expo, I waited "in line" to take pictures, only
to be cut by the local Chinese, who would take photo after photo,
until they were all satisfied with each smiling figure holding a peace
sign in the image. This marks the Chinese obsession with not just
creating memories, but creating ones that only highlight beauty, which
is, in this manner, often unnatural and forced. Yet, is this act of
creating or "forcing" a beautiful memory an attempt at false identity?
On another aspect, can it also represent a sincere desire to progress?
It is this optimism that characterizes the Chinese's imagination of
the future.

According to Chang Tsong-Zung, the use of digital photography to
alter and distort "reality" has made it harder for all of us to reach
a consensus on the intentions of certain photographic images. In other
words, the role of Chinese contemporary photography is constantly
evolving, from an information provider to one that expresses the
ideals of the aspiring Chinese. But even though it is constantly
changing, there is still some "reality" in these images. While an
outsider, like myself, may think of them as deceiving at first, the
images are not fake in any manner, because the intentions of the
Chinese to "progress" and "modernize" is real. I believe that Chang's
aim is to reinforce the idea that we must not judge by first
impressions. Photography, like many any other art forms, is influenced
by historic events that are taking place, the human experience. This
"imagining the future" as concept of the continuing process of
improvement is not much different.

No comments: