No Place Project
The No Place Project is a narrative photography project that documents contemporary locations where anti-Chinese violence took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in North America. The photographs are combined with stories about the events that happened at those sites.
From 1850 to 1910 a violent anti-Chinese movement in this country instigated forced removals of entire Chinese communities, major riots against Chinese residents and even horrific massacres of Chinese immigrants. Some of these actions, such the riot in Rock Springs, Wyoming, were among the most violent events in American history, yet few people are aware of this part of our American culture.
I have spent more than eight years researching and documenting the exact locations of many of these events, tracing the history of the past to the landscapes of today. Unlike many historical sites, there has been little recognition of the specific places where these events took place. For most sites there are no plaques or markers, no guidebook references – nothing at all to indicate what happened. I have recorded these seemingly commonplace scenes and combined them with written descriptions of what took place there. The photographs and the text together are integral parts of the documentation for this project.
Throw Away Society
Over a period of three weeks I spent many hours watching and photographing as ton after ton of waste was dumped by garbage trucks, private haulers and ordinary citizens. I was struck by both the casualness with which most people discard things and efficiency of our waste disposal system. As soon as loads were dumped, giant bulldozers moved in to crush and shove the piles away in order to make room for the next loads. In most cases I had no more than a few seconds to shoot a scene before it disappeared forever.
This project is a continuation of what I began with Throw-Away Society. In this series sofas are transformed from ordinary household furniture into random works of public art, placed anonymously on sidewalks and street corners for others to consider in passing. As sculptures created by our consumptive society , they tell us things about ourselves – about what we value and what we want. Most of them appeared only for a day or two, and then they were gone.
End of Season
End of Season is a commentary on the stages of life. It is a response to my own aging process and to our society's obsession with youth and beauty. There is a grace and refinement in every age, yet when life of any kind comes to an end too often we tend to look away. I was reminded of this when I spent some time wandering in local community gardens, watching as plants transition from summer bloom to decaying residue within the course of a few months. The gardens became metaphors for my own life, the transitions I have already experienced and those yet to come. The plants taught me there is beauty at every stage of life and death, with equal enchantment on both ends of the spectrum.