Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sze Tsung Leong

I really like this guy's work. He's Chinese-American and British, born in Mexico City 1970, currently lives and works in New York and I have no idea how to pronounce his name!!

Again though, I'm attracted to not just the topic of his images, but the colours of them. He uses an 8" x 10" camera.

I'm also interested in the things he writes about photography. He is obviously into the history and the process of the art of photography but it's what he says about his series 'History Images' that I find particularly interesting:
The photographs in History Images are of histories, in the form of cities in China, either being destroyed or created at this juncture in time. They are of past histories, in the form of traditional buildings and neighborhoods, urban fabrics, and natural landscapes, in the process of being erased. They are of the absence of histories, in the form of construction sites, built upon an erasure of the past so complete that one would never know a past had ever existed. And they are of the anticipation of future histories, yet to unfold, in the form of newly built cities.

Cities are the largest, most enduring, and most encompassing documents of history, uniquely recording the variations and residues of time. Substantial urban change is generally expected to span over prolonged periods: decades, generations, centuries. The evidence of these changes is usually gradual and cumulative; residues of history are slowly left in built form, giving physical shape to the accretions of time. There are moments in history, however, that accelerate the rate of urban change: warfare, changes of regime, transformations of social structure, economic prosperity. These moments force societies to evaluate their relationship to their own history and their attitude to their future, in turn affecting their relationship to their environments.

I feel this thing about histories being destroyed is very important to me; I don't think I'm able to explain why it's so important to me yet, but I'm working on it!! There's just so much that we're losing - skills, knowledge, crafts, books, buildings etc. Even in photography itself we're being pushed towards new technology away from the traditional film and darkroom practices. It's so sad and so frustrating; so much of it is out of our control. I need come back to this when it's not so late and I'm much more able to express myself!!


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