Zhang Xiao

Zhang Xiao’s Coastline made my day, week and more. The series (and a book) stands out, and apart, when I look back at everything I’ve seen last year.

It’s hard for me to nail properly, why it is so special, you need to see it. You need to go from image to image, let it take you in, and in no time you will find yourself frowning, smiling, chuckling, and being surprized by what you see. This is street photography – or snapshotery – of extraordinary eye, heart and talent.

I mean… who are these people? what on Earth is going on there? WTF also comes to mind quite often. Every single image is a story on a borderline between real and surreal, and this perfectly reflects the craziness of life we live now.

In China or elsewhere.

I personally can relate to the phenomenon of being uprooted, travelled far and beyond, and having lost sense of home, of continuity, of cultural tradition, of belonging somewhere. It all turned into a longing for a place, for home where I haven’t been to.  What it was – long gone, a tiny dot left far behind somewhere in childhood memories, almost inbisible. Today, like so many others, I am living in a moment – snapshot, snapshot, snap, snap – and heading forward, to the shore, where we all gather, and recognize relatives and strangers, – along the coastline.

When I was a child, I was eager for the sea and I felt the sea to be mysterious. I could never touch it. Now, I still feel as I did. I come here to seek strong emotional conflicts and rich images, which may bear deep sorrow and a sense of loss. The sea is the beginning of lives and dreams. At the same time, I am looking for a hometown in my heart.- Zhang Xiao

This is great series, for so many reasons.

Also technically, I find it superbly done, the choice of colour palette.

Plus, and this is my deco-art-side speaking, every photograph could be up on a wall, framed. You don’t see that often with snapshots, such finished, perfect images…

If you like the style, definitely check out more of Zhang Xiao work, it’s very different to most of … the rest. You’ll see what I mean.