Woo Sing and the Mirror
One day Woo Sing’s father brought home a mirror from the great city.
Woo Sing had never seen a mirror before. It was hung in the room while he was out at play, so when he came in he did not understand what it was, but thought he saw another boy….
He spoke to the stranger in a very friendly way, but he received no reply.
He laughed and waved his hand at the boy in the glass, who did the same thing, in exactly the same way…
China was the first time in my life I had experienced being the ‘subject’. I was photographed as much as I photographed. Some of the photographers were the ‘serious’ kind, long lenses peering around corners. Some, with smaller point and shoot cameras walked up and gestured for me to pose for them. Sometimes, that’s how I worked too.
Unable to speak the language I blended into this mass ‘photography’, one in a million subjects/photographers operating with some unspoken barter system. I was a subject for others, others for me and China provided the backdrop. It’s a new ‘mass’ camera culture.
I felt more at ease in China as the ‘subject’ had a camera too. Before this experience I had never felt comfortable being the unsolicited photographer. Usually my attempts in Australia failed because I was too far away or I couldn’t engage the subject in a way that reproduced what first drew me too them.
Where Australia provides distance, China closes in.
2010 China Diptychs - Sydney Fringe Festival, Sydney, AUS.
2010 8 Days - Perth Centre of Photography, Perth, AUS.