Guang Chen

Streets in America

I was born and raised in China, and came to the United States in 2015 to study photography. Soon after arriving, I began shooting in the street as a way to understand my new country. The initial act of making these photographs was intuitive. I naturally lifted my camera to shoot without thinking. Sometimes I was immediately successful, but other times some elements were missing and making a good photograph required patient waiting. Generally, I was not in a hurry, I would wait until I got the picture I wanted before leaving. I looked for locations where people were able to move about and I photographed them in moments of contemplation as well moments of transition.

When I returned home to organize these photographs, I was focused on the solitude the images seemed to capture. They are not only photographs of locations; they are also portraits of the people temporarily inhabiting them. The photographs in this series can be divided into two categories. The first category is portraiture. I found that my subjects have something in common. For example, they are all lonely, or at least they look lonely. Most of the people are alone in the photos. Some people are focused on their phones in the subway station and waiting for their train. Some people are sleeping on the subway. Some people sitting on the street seem to be thinking about their future. The second category is what I call street view. Window shopping always gives people endless and fantasy. Standing by the window, looking at the dazzling merchandise in the store, makes it seem as if the mannequin can see the desire deep inside you. Each subject looks lonely and mysterious, but full of yearning for life.

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Department
Design
Program
Photo
Cohort
Spring 2020
Interests
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