Family Album - PhMuseum

Family Album

Jingru Wang

2019 - Ongoing

Photography for me is a gesture of love. The act of taking a photograph of someone

means to carefully carry their trust and vulnerability on my shoulders. I want to create safe spaces through the making of the images with my subjects. The process of taking photographs can be exploitative. So, in my photographs, I try to reveal my presence as a photographer as someone who is in an equal and caring relationship with her subjects. I create safe spaces by being (in) there with my loved ones. Holding on to the sentimental power within personal and family photographs, I also think about the public, and about the social function and the exhibition value of photography. For me, the most important question is: how do we care for each other through both creating and looking at photographs? In my project, I explore the fluctuating power dynamic in photographs, and how photography creates a communal space through forming social relations among the subjects, photographer and the viewers. I photograph professional Asian models intimately with their home and family members, in contrast to their coexisting photographic identity that they

have when they are working in a commercial setting. Agreeing to be photographed means to be vulnerable, and to give in the power of how to be perceived by the photographer in a photograph as well as by the viewers as a photograph, and being a person of color in a photograph in the western world can also be extra prone to be interpreted in many different ways. Thinking about the tokenizing practice of having poc models in commercial campaigns, and the overly identitarian reading on poc artist's work, I created this series of images. What do we see when we see asian models in photographs that resemble a family snapshot? and what makes an artwork political? Does the appearance of Asian bodies in an image make it inherently political?

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