The Secret Place With Nowhere To Hide

jiatong lu


As a child, when I was beaten and scolded severely by my family at home, a place I could not escape from, I would instinctively dissociate myself from that combat situation. I would imagine myself in another shadowy space far away, where I could float or sink without gravity. My body would become numb instantaneously and I could not feel any pain. Whenever I was overwhelmed with emotions of helplessness or alienation, I would fantasize about escaping to an unknown place, a forest or an island, where no one knows me, and I do not exist for any purpose. That process would bring me calm and peace temporarily.

Growing up, the language people used around me had always been negative and violent. However, my experiences with photography felt completely different. Just like how it was in my childhood, photography would take me to other worlds, which could not be reached in reality. Since children are too young to fight back, or change their terrible situation directly, I am curious about how they would create an imaginary “safe haven” for their own “self-redemption”, and to internalize the trauma that they had been through. In this work The Secret Place With Nowhere To Hide, follows the fragmented feelings of my childhood, I am trying to internalize my inescapable traumatic memories, the broken relationships, and the feelings of being alienated. This project explores the relationships between self and other, intimacy and isolation, as well as the body memories and internal emotions, and attempts to show how photography can conceptually reconstruct the inter-relationships among them.

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