Friday, 28 December 2012


It is a very interesting show.  I didn’t know this kind of shooting gallery in history.  I had an image with a bullet flying to a Leica, from last year’s Paris Photo.  I found it is quite conceptual.  A gun shoot a camera, a camera shoot back.  There are quite a few theme based works.  The video installation gives me lots of revelation too.  Standing in the middle I was closed in by four screens with appropriated video footage from movies men shooting... I myself sometimes don’t find these cliche movie boring and if anything I quite like to see these movies from time to time, but seeing the installation give me some more thoughts...  Shooting! Existential life.

There is evan a real shooting gallery but I didn’t try due to time constraint. Should be interesting.

“Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive. However, despite the extravagances of ordinary language and advertising, they are not lethal. In the hyperbole that markets cars like guns, there is at least this much truth: except in wartime, cars kill more people than guns do. The camera/gun does not kill, so the ominous metaphor seems to be all bluff – like a man’s fantasy of having a gun, knife, or tool between his legs.” -Susan Sontag

Also, downstairs, I saw Tom Wood’s show.  I actually visually researched his work and now see them in person in a gallery!

Thursday, 27 December 2012


Introduction from Wellcome’s website.  Theme interesting so I went there but not as I expected probably I expected it could be more visually ...

Our major winter exhibition showcases some 300 works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including art works, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. Rare prints by Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya will be displayed alongside anatomical drawings, war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains will be juxtaposed with Renaissance vanitas paintings and twentieth century installations celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. From a group of ancient Incan skulls, to a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey, this singular collection, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, opens a window upon our enduring desire to make peace with death. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


I particularly like Elizabeth Price’s video installation - Woolworth Fire.  Narratives, montage, edit, texts, sound effects... Price reanimates existing archives of imagery, texts and music to explore our complex relationship to objects and consumer culture. Her carefully sequenced films guide us through immersive virtual spaces, derived from the cultural debris of the material world.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


It was full of people, especially middle and old aged ones... Maybe I am already one of them, or at least I am on the track, and very fast... I had to squeeze among them but I love this exhibition.  I don’t care about the conceptual stuff anymore completely being carried away by the deadly beautiful works.  They are so rich with beautiful details and props perfectly presented and expressed.  Among them John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti particularly are eyes catching to me.  I have a fixation for chiaroscuro.  There are a few chiaroscuro works.  I think I can sit there forever let the beauty talking me away and melting me.  Photography is overshadowed by these kind of painting...  I want to take them home, change my wall to all those Pre-Raphaelites wall papers, update my furniture to all those beautiful things... Anyway, breath taking!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


We had a review today on work in progress.  There were lots of interesting comments.  I haven’t seen or heard interesting stuff these months.  Missed Andrew’s Nostalgia talk but caught up with the recording, a very interesting subject as it relates to me - these days everything to me is nostalgia, not mentioning the time based medium photography, as everything around me, the whole world is a time based medium where I engage push and pull on a daily basis.  

Among everyone’s work, I found Andrew’s very interesting.  He took a roll of 35mm colour film, blow, blow, and blow out with lots of grain and deformed forms of subjects.  The more you zoom, the less you know, the more destabilising it gets.  He is questioning the truth of the medium and challenge viewer what you see is not what you see...  

I was impressed Sarah D’s project in Show and Tell, now she explained the philosophical level, the logos and superficiality.  She said everything combines everything, there is a relationship among everything, superficially probably.  Anyway...

Gavin and Silke both said, play with material, don’t commit yourself, do now, think later, you don’t know until you do it...  Quite like it, I knew it too, but sometimes my right brain was controlled by the left, which tries to get rid of all the uncertainty, I want to play with more uncertainty, don’t think, do intuitively...

Gavin commented Alan’s landscape idea which Alan claimed to have the obvious conflict and message in a good landscape image.  Gavin said photography is not that kind of media, it does not give explicit message as such, rather it offers subtlety, a relationship rather only than conflicts.  This way, the continuous engagement is created to reach a complex level.  The cliche in landscape is just offer those romantic iddilic edenic mood, but there is more that that as nature is not necessarily that was well commented, quite like the idea.  

I don’t think I get clear direction over my projects.  I do hear different comments.  Gavin explained the depth of the red background and I found quite interesting.  Silke shot my idea to draw a line in Shi Dai Jing Shen skyscape, which I quite agree.  Seems the challenge is how to present this 3 strands projects.  I need to decide if I shoot more portraiture, with lighting or not.  Then after that, I can just play around with materials, edit and presentation. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012


I didn’t expect it is this single image shortlisted - have thought it was my Transit project as I thought that was much more interesting.  I didn’t it could win some prize too.  The 3rd prize in single image section.  I don’t like the image as it is a kind of cliche and medium is swarmed with these kind of images which is not interesting.  However it is indeed very pictorial, quite a spectacle.  I missed the private view but went to see the show today at P3 Gallery.  Could be nice to have attended to get the prize physically though...

Thursday, 6 December 2012


I am still contemplating the composition.  While vaguely I feel like the equal split way, I tried different kinds of experiment.  Which one should I chose?  What more options do I have?  Maybe the first one to be different from Sugimoto?     

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


I still can’t resist the rich colour everyday sun sets and rises.  While below and above my flying is immersed in the darkness, the faraway is undergoing a colourful change. It only lasts a short time.  I used ISO1600 to capture this worry the quality of the image.  The sun always rises, no matter... and also sets, every day, for thousands of years.  

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


I gazed into the starry night sky.  How could I not use the word “beautiful”.  The cabin light is dimmed, so I can see the star clearly.  I feel I am nearer to the night sky stars.  Star has always been inside me. My mom always created fairy tales using the stars, and the moon.  One of the early songs I learnt is also about star.  During the years, I am always fascinated by it.  I love the night, when we ran into sea from the beach shore and shout looking at the stars - of course, that night we had some alcohol, it helped.  Every night, Meimei says good bye to everyone, byebye little rabit, byebye little horse, byebye fish, byebye lamp, byebye wawa, byebye star...  Then if I asked Meimei where is the star, she said she went to sleep.  She saw the stars in the cabin and asked us, grab the star, grab the moon.  Star, how beautiful, she’s my star.  Wow, went on a tangent.  So I took out the camera, using B, 45 seconds with wide aperture.  I captured the moving traces of the stars, the sky and the lights below my flying...

Monday, 3 December 2012


I tried soft focus and I looked fabulous.  Not necessarily in the form, it gives me more space for appreciation.  I have been fascinated by the soft focus.  I don’t know where I picked up from.  Maybe Gerhard Richter.  Then the colour, I don’t know if I keep the saturated colour.  I don’t want my images that colourful, though I don’t want it pure grey scale.  I always appreciate the saying by Laozi, “Five colours make one blind (五色令人目盲五音令人耳聋)”  it is the literal translation, it conceptually means there is more in less.  My first name from Zhuangzi, thanks to my father, and Taoism (Laozi and Zhuangzi) means a lot to me.  I am considering to use the minimal colour and texture to convey the essence of Zeitgeist.  It goes simple, only the essence is left after thousands years of washing.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


I test shot. I foresee a few problems and find a way to solve it.  Normally the glass is not clean.  Learnt from “Behind Curtains” I know as long as I put the camera lens onto the glass I will decrease the visual noise to the lowest level.  Also the light, if it is against the light, then problem of glare like this image will be destroying.  So every time I fly I have to better plan the side of my seats.  The change, the colour, and the diversified mode of the skyscape is appealing.  Day, dusk, dawn, night, so beautiful.  Even in the high sky, there is still the chance element of the cloud.  I will keep on shooting every time I fly.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


I can’t move away from this composition, even though I dislike it, as it, instantly, resembles Sugimoto’s Seascape.  Nevertheless, I started my shooting.  Sky and star have always been fascinating to me.  I like to look into the sky, gaze to the infinity.  I love clouds, and I can easily look at clouds slowly moving forever.  I consider the sky and clouds myself, I look into myself, the unknown self, the changing self, and the mysterious self.  Now, I would like to carry on, I will use sky and cloud as the metaphor for China Zeitgeist.  

Sky and clouds could be anything. It has the intrinsic universality within it.  It is people’s mind that projected into the sky and cloud, and the sky and cloud, to them become their thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Maybe I shouldn’t narrow my image narratives to this China Zeitgeist, to let the meaning expand and melt into viewer’s mind.  However, it means something to me personally and probably to Chinese nationally.  The East philosophy is dominated by the Tian Ren He Yi (天人合一).  It literally means sky, human, unity, one.  The immanence and unity has been the essence of China for thousands of year.  

For western, it more concentrates dualism which lead to an opposition between man and nature.  You easily spot the difference between a Chinese painting (especially landscape) with a western one.  The human figures in Chinese landscape painting (I say Shan Shui, 山水) is always tiny melted into the mountain and water.  The Chinese believes in nature, while the western always try to conquer and plunder from nature with its increasingly highly advanced technologies.  Probably globalisation today does not make this any more, with China accomplished San Xia and western more tends to preserve the nature.  Nevertheless the spirit inside Chinese should be always there not be carried away by the sudden outrageous economic development, it will come back, as this is something there for thousands of years, and will be there of eternity.  The other things is Zhong Yong, based on this Tian Ren He Yi, Chinese tends to find the balance in everything in lives.  The balance is called Zhong Yong (Doctrine of the Mean)  The people dislike the drastic and extreme thoughts and behaviors.  Actually the name Zhong Guo (China) not only literally reflects the then thought that the country is in the middle, but more importantly Chinese believes in Zhong (the balance).  Under such contexts, I found my planned composition hard to change, as I see the skyscape split in half, idealised the above concepts, TianRenHeYi, ZhongYong, and Zhongguo. 

So why sky?  I planned the photography to be taken from the sky above China. The sky to China is nature in general and the highest principles and governance.  I choose the sky as it idealised people’s dream, embodies thousands of years of philosophy and history free from the noise and change in the society anytime, something eternal and invariable.  The sky is from China, but above it, idealised and cristilised by the time.