For Two People, Singapore-based photographer Sean Lee creates intimate portraits of his mother and father, closely examining their bodies as well as the psychic threads that forever bind members of the immediate family.
Lee embarked on this photographic journey with his parents five years ago, and he sees no end in sight. In some ways, he says, the camera has become integrated into the fabric of their domestic lives, inspiring moments of communion and endearment that might not otherwise manifest. He comes from a family in which physical affection is generally avoided, and only times he has borne witness to his parents touching is through his viewfinder. Some of these scenes have been carefully directed while others have unfolded spontaneously; for the artist, the staged or impromptu nature has no bearing on the authenticity and emotional validity of the captured interaction.
Just as his relationship with his parents influences the photographs he makes, so too have the photographs colored his bond with the pair. His intent focus on their interactions has led him to confront the realities of their bodies, to face the inevitability of their mortality. While making some of these images, he admits that he’s been seized by the fear of their eventual death.
In their physical beings, he traces his own origins, discovering in their blemishes and marks deeply rooted aspects of his own self. Here, the boundaries between husband and wife, parent and child, soften and re-solidify, tracing a non-linear narrative of creation, loss, and familiarity. “I just want to to go on and make an ocean of images,” Lee tells us.
All images © Sean Lee