Artist's Statement

Hai Zhang

The photographs I submitted here are from The Beginning series. They were taken in the Bronx and Harlem New York. The prints are 11”x18” archival inkjet print. My work deals with the identity and the context that shapes it. I believe this examination should be beyond the perimeter of our own culture, race and gender. For an immigrant, it is fundamental to participate in the process in order to comprehend the complexity of this country. I dived myself in with a camera. For a year since March 2018, I had conducted a project to take one roll of 35mm film every day. During the process of exposing these 365 rolls of films, photography was a tool and a force to place me in front of the unknown. I consider myself as a simple learner who was lucky enough to live through these fast changing, vanishing, yet stubbornly lasting parts of the society. The photographs are the physical witness bearing the evidences.

Equipped with two essential aspects of photography –what leads to the action of taking photographs; and what the photographs lead to, I have been able to dutifully and directly observe as well as participate in the events. Here, the images are not merely a documentation nor a provider of contents, but an agent to stimulate conversation that connects the evidences and interpretation. Art making is not only about expression but also, more importantly, to me also about understanding and knowing.