It's been almost a year since we were enchanted by Jiang Jiang (@solariswhiteball)'s mysterious photographs. Usually, photographs taken in such an arthouse style can come across as contrived, but the gritty ambiguity exhibited by the photographer was executed in earnest.
Jiang Jiang is based in China and works at a university near the airport. He lives in this area and describes it as "new and artificial, where logistics companies and shoe factories are nearby." Fortunately, he says, he can escape from such a "boring place to the wild" via a 10-minute motorbike ride. "My interest and daily life is to ride between these two areas. It's ridiculous and contradictory but I like it."
He vividly remembers a moment from his youth that inspired him to pursue photography:
When I was 7 years old, I found a hole on the wall at school. People took out the trash through this hole, and one weekend I just saw people take out dust and many pieces of paper through this hole. Below the hole there was a river, and across the river lies a mountain. Those dust and paper fly and float through the hole, and to me, it seemed that the whole world out there was paradise. So the hole inspired me, it was the frame of my first camera. It was when I saw freedom blowing in the wind.
His photos evoke a haunting, hazy mood. How did this style develop?
I liked strange things when I was young. Reality is a stage, something familiar could be a murder. Those great directors, like David Lynch, Andrei Tarkovsky, Roman Polanski and so on often inspired me.
When asked about his approach to photography, he offers two different processes. He takes his time when shooting in medium format (which is limited in the number of exposures) and is more relaxed when shooting in 35 mm.
I like everything suspicious. When I'm shooting with 120 film, I often walk closer to stare at these suspicious objects. When time passes by, I see something special. For example, a broken cloth that looks like a man’s face, a goose walking like a proud judge, or figures that seem like having a secret meeting in this abandoned factory. The world is a stage where many extras or bit-part actors exist. When the stage curtain is about to open, I take a photo. When I'm shooting with 135 film, I follow my intuition and desire more often. You know, a crow likes to steal something bright and shiny. Maybe I am that kind of bird.
Among the photographs in his LomoHome, he shared these top 3 picks and the stories behind them:
1. It’s cold in early spring. My wife had just recovered from an illness, and she walked out of a broken little house. Seeing her back made me want to cry. When I went home and developed the film, I found bird-shaped lines on her shoulder. It gave me hope.
2. It’s a strange scene: five passers-by, a couple of goats, and me. I disappeared at the edge of the stage. I can hear the passerby’s voice from above. Who was the viewing object?
3. This was when I rode a motorbike by this factory, and there was an old advertising board, two women, through the leaves and sunshine—to me it looked like a Shao ghost story.