Up to one year ago, I had always been paranoid for the most beautiful image in all sorts of situations like travelling, daily life etc, whenever camera was in my hand. Composition, lighting, retouching, printing…I spent long hours to get the best image appealing to eyes.
I knew subconsciously this is not good enough. I knew photography is a tool, not only capturing pretty images but also expressing something. However, I was not quite sure how to utilise this media. This is the motivation to join the course last year.
First year started in 2009. Theory wise, we studied Visual Culture and Modernity and After. They encapsulated so many issues such as photography history, semiotics, modern and contemporary art etc. They offered me a great platform to merge cultural, social, art, language, etc into my photography pot. Slowly, I came to feel the ‘content’. Influenced by the Conceptual Art in 60 and 70’s, I became bit rebellious against the ‘form’. It is the content that matters! I found the conceptual engagement so powerful that overshadows the form.
From one extreme – pretty picture, I transformed myself to the other – the concept. I started to ‘liberate’ myself not bothering about the form any more. This process and the change sometimes baffle me as well. What is more important? I have been constantly questioning myself. The summer vacation gives me a good break. Modernism and Postmodernism arts and theories convoluted inside me and developed organically. It seems that my thoughts reach a fine balance at the moment. Photography practice needs to combine the right form and content. Form can be content and vice versa.
I am pleased that I felt the change inside me, from one end of pendulum to the other and then it reaches the middle. This makes me appreciate more of the essences of Chinese philosophy. Zhong Yong (中庸) － the Doctrine of the Mean. I am not sure if this can be called the essences of Chinese philosophy, as China has so many different schools of philosophy. Anyway, these days, the philosophy thousands of years ago in China, such as Ru, Dao, etc really intrigues me.
Tomorrow our new terms starts. The subject is Technologies and Self. It is mainly on philosophies from Descartes to post-Lacan, well, probably. I look forward to the new horizons opening.