Inspired by Japanese photographers of the 1970’s and largely influenced by my isolating experience during the pandemic, my current photographic work, ‘A Taste of Salt’, uses a multiple narrative structure to explore themes associated with memory, family, love, home, friendship and loss. Intertwining observational documentary and constructed image making and using symbolism and metaphor, I visually reflect on this traumatic, but hugely influential period of my life. Taking my cues from Daido Moriyama and Takuma Nakahira, all of my photographs were made with an analogue camera/film and printed in the darkroom. This approach to image making felt more authentic, allowing me to feel more connected to my work. As someone who previously studied graphic design with a strong interest in editorial design I wanted to use my time on this programme to combine my skills and so it felt right to contextulise my photographic work in a publication. Whilst this is an intensely personal project, the pandemic was a collective experience and I hope that through my images, viewers can take stock, reflect and heal as I have strived to do.
THE TASTE OF SALT
It’s been 893 days since I left my home in China and moved to the UK. The restrictions brought on by the pandemic stretch like an endless wall separating me from my family, friends and lovers. I feel trapped on this island, in this room, in this body, unable to resist or break free. My memories of what my home looks like are diminishing and the familiar faces are fading.
Searching for respite, I start walking towards the coast. Wandering around the edges and looking out to sea, the light, the sounds, the smells and the taste of salt in the wind remind me of home. The hypnotic waves roll into familiar scenes and memories from my past begin to emerge. For a moment, I seem to return to where I belong, but I know it’s just an illusion and that it will eventually dissipate like the tide leaving me standing alone to walk on this endless shoreline.