The urbanization, globalization, and over-population of our world have brought about a new sense of place, a new notion of how we define our home or our comfort zone within our citified realities. Shopping malls, corner coffee shops, the streets themselves are our living rooms; professional sports arenas and gentrified performances are our recreation. Has our culture become so socialized that it is (we are) no longer social? It seems the closer we get to each other physically, the farther we are apart psychologically. Loneliness and isolation are prevalent in our multitudinous urban societies.
My work looks for an escape from this reality, a place of refuge within the harsh and rigid surroundings of steel, concrete, and asphalt. But are we able to be comforted? Seeking an escape, a place of my own, I capture intimate windows into an unreal world that we may dream to enter with the hopes of leaving our troubles, confusion, and chaos behind. But perhaps we only become more discomfited – uncertain of even our own reality that surrounds us, pushing in on all sides.
(photo by Wang Li, one of my Shanxi University students, as I prepare my 4x5 camera in China)