Text by Chaoyu Li
After staying for almost four years in Walla Walla, a rather typical American town, I thought I couldn’t be more familiar with the streets and landscape here: clean and organized, but also repetitive and unexciting. Domestic Nightscape is an attempt of me to view this place again with my camera. Earlier, photography could be my reason or motivation of viewing, or the method by which I share my vision. However, in this project, photography has become my only way of seeing—my eyes are not capable of long-exposure on a single frame to achieve more information, but camera can capture and magnify the contrast among different light sources’ luminosity and the interweaving of colors.
In daylight those quiet blocks and middle-class tract houses could be dreary and mind numbing, but they are now surrealistically rendered. Their original materiality starts to become abstract till the moment when it’s perfectly balanced—as architectures, when their exterior structures and lines are more explicit, especially when some elements are highlighted and penetrated by indoor artificial lights, they are also closer to pure geometric shapes.At meantime, I hope viewers will skip the photographer and read images directly, and only in this way could viewers understand the elements in the image based on their own personal experience (for example, would the indoor light cause the sense of security or alienation? ). Therefore, although I can never peel my subjective vision off when I look through the viewfinder, I still attempt to hide these purposed visual choices by presenting a relatively calm composition and allowing a space to breath between the viewers and the images (although this behavior might actually be the nature of subjectivity).
I hope these images with realistic details and surrealistic renderings will not only be visually attractive to audiences who have never personally experienced it, but also push them further and let them approach curiously to the meaning and emotions of lights, as the strongest visual charge of these houses, the evidence of the existence of human in the images, and the essence of photography.
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