Tingting Zhang (She/Her)
As an interdisciplinary visual creative, my practice has gradually shifted from graphic design to photography and from landscape photography to staged photography during my studies at GSA. My work is often inspired by my life experiences and cultural environment, as well as social issues in general.
In previous projects I have explored staged photography around the conceptual themes of gender, self and the gaze. Using a simple yet symbolically rich visual language, my images seek to create a representative narrative scenario independent of reality, representing the plight of women’s lives. I try to maintain an ambiguity in the images, where the subject or object may relate to any woman, as I want my work to communicate universally.
In my graduation project work, I question my identity through a hypothesis: what happens to my psyche and body when the values of the ego and the alienated myself, the individual and the collective, come into clash? Through my images, I try to capture a sense of dislocation in scenes of interweaving reality and fiction, a balance between identity and belonging, personal beliefs and external values.
In this project, I am working speculatively around notional themes associated with gender, self and gaze around the place of women in contemporary society.These concepts have evolved over the primary research, covering issues such as consumerism, equality, motherhood and other topics closely related to women. Through staging, I try to create images that can be universally communicated in a broad sense.
Historically, the rabbit has been regarded as a symbol of sensuality due to its fertility. Similarly, under the domination of male culture, the alienation of women in society has manifested itself in sexual repression and objectification, and women are often seen as fertility machines. Furthermore, women’s bodies and behaviors are controlled and shaped by the forces of capital and patriarchy, detached from the human nature of women. as a young woman, I feel alienated and dislocated as we are represented and evaluated by forces that are not our own, and shaped against our will.
In this project, I have through the use of metaphor, created an isolated rabbit character as a symbol of the alienation and dislocation that I, and more generally, women often experience in society today. This character is lost in the forest, but free from the expectations and judgements of others, it is searching for where it belongs – its place in the world.
Beyond the Haze
In this project, I aim to capture the experience of alienation in a highly homogenized society. How is individuality reflected when appearances present a high degree of similarity? In the terrace ,a space that represents relative freedom in the midst of an architectural forest, I was able to capture the different reactions of different subjects to their surroundings through minimal indications of pose. These poses and body language illustrate the way in which individuals try to assert their individuality in a society that values conformity. Through this project, I hope to shed light on the ways in which society’s pressures towards conformity and homogeneity can lead to feelings of alienation and disconnection.