Zhe Chen is a fine art photographer originally from Beijing, China and is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Chen graduated from Art Center College of Design with her BFA in photography in the summer of 2010. Within the past year, Chen’s work has been exhibited in multiple galleries in New York, France, and China. For the past four years she’s been investigating and documenting self-inflicted activities of her own and others. This work is from her Bees project. She writes:
To jeopardize existence for existence itself: ‘Bees’ recorded a marginalized group of people in China, who, faced with chaos, violence, alienation and irredeemable losses in life, feels propelled to leave physical traces and markings on their bodies, in order to preserve and corroborate a pure and sensitive mind from within. In 2010, having ‘The Bearable’ (a photo series documenting my own self-infliction in the past 4 years) as my passport, I had the opportunity to develop a close relationship with some of these obstinate souls – the bees. During the process of exchanging secrets with them, I crossed path with certain possibilities that were formerly unachieved but towards which I had struggled greatly in my personal life. I’m struck by the unyielding actions and reactions they carry on with while encountering sudden and acute emotional fluxes, and moved by the recurrent effort they make to recover themselves afterwards. No matter how different our lives seem to be, we undoubtedly shared common psychological experiences.
I intend my photographs to inquire upon society’s prejudice and preconception towards this community, and not to become illustrations or pictorial evidence for the topic at hand: every subject is an individual, not just ‘one of them’– his or her life cannot be predicted or dictated by any constructed social code or notion. Not everyone is strong, some are just naturally more sensitive. When the dust settles, some wave their hands and walk away, and others soak it up and digest it. When they feel weak, the bees come up with a rather alternative solution to carry them through the hardships.
I hope a first glance of my work conveys the idea of secrecy and sentiments, under which lies information awaiting exposure and recognition: like an index page pointing towards all the unanswered questions. The viewers will never be in direct communication with these bees, unfortunately. They can only see the images and read the words. What is the best way to summarize the reason for our existence? After all, we are only human. I feel responsible to be part of this dialogue.
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Richard Choi is a New York based photographer currently attending Yale University for his MFA in photography. The photographs shown here are from three projects; Amish, High School, and Inland Empire. His photographs exude an honest curiosity with the landscapes and people depicted in his work. Whether he is placing himself in new situations, or finding a new aspect of something old, exploration and discovery has always been the goal for him. His straight photographs provoke a discussion about how photography is integrated into his life rather than a technical discussion about his process. When asked about how important photography is in his life, Richard said, ‘Photography is extremely important in my life and at this point I no longer see or think of them as two separate things’.
Teresa Lojacono obtained her BFA at Art Center College of Design learning the techniques and business side of the photographic medium. Merely understanding the technical aspects wasn’t enough for her and she soon found herself in the MFA program at The International Center of Photography in New York. Now engulfed in theory and criticism, her work has shifted into the realm of self discovery and the human form. The images selected here are from Lojacono’s self-portrait series, Intimate Disclosure. Lojacono says, ‘Self-portraiture is a way for me to investigate the representation of the self and in that discover a way to have my images reach a point of authenticity so that the viewer can form a relationship with my images. I’m striving for emotional genuineness in hopes of reaching, of approaching some sort of truth. I want to create imagery which speaks to the sensitivity of the human condition, causing us to think about our place in the world’.
Hiroshi Clark is an LA based photographer and a recent graduate from Art Center College of Design’s photography program. He’s an artist that never stops producing. Raw, provocative, and honest, his images aggressively grab the viewer’s attention. While some photographers build pictures, Hiroshi starts with the messiness of the world and selects a picture. With the world being raw material, his sensitivity to houses, streets, people, trees, and artifacts allows him to simplify the jumble by giving a scene or situation structure, drawing the viewer in from his point of view. His snapshot photographic style is reminiscent of photographs traditionally found in family albums, but instead of concentrating on formulaic celebrations such as weddings, family vacations, or birthdays, his photographs present an faithful depiction of the intimate, private, and often, overlooked moments in life.