Matca is honored to invite Quang Lam, fine art photographer and founder of Inlen Photo gallery to pick his favorites from #matcaspotlight October 2017. Let’s see what he and his vision bring us.
When Matca asked me to make a selection from #matcaspotlight submissions on Instagram, I wonder what criteria I have to rely on to make my choice. Should it be my personal taste, the aesthetic of the photo or the originality of the subject? A photo can never be judged objectively; as our perception is filtered by our personal experience, cultural habits and the momentary context when we are looking at the photo.
On Instagram, photos no longer look like unique works but are caught in the daily flow of images. So I decide to watch this stream for several days and to choose instinctively photos that seem to have a dialogue between them when set side by side, as if I wanted to give coherence to this flow and to create a single, almost mental image from a multitude of perspectives offered by the participants.
The final choice for #matcaspotlight October hence is a big mosaic that brings together themes of religion, relationship and its opposite – isolation and loneliness. The 9 square pictures form a big square, reflecting the platform Instagram. We can also change the order of the pieces to play with the meaning which varies upon different arrangement. I like to see photography as a visual music piece, playing between composition, arrangement and flow.
1. Photo by ducvu1310. This photo is influenced by the “surrealist” use of photography, popular in street photography recently, that explores poetic relationships between unrelated objects. The mirror and the mannequin transform a simple, banal space into a whole new world. There is no need for an exotic place when the photographer knows how and where to look.
2. Photo by tinhhap. The voice of the singer seems to resonate in the empty room. This photo speaks about the dilemma of being an artist as the need to express sometimes contrasts with the need to have an audience. Through this absurd situation, the photographer seems to project his own feelings too.
3. Photo by 9beesleepless.
Using glasses or mirrors and double exposure have the same purpose of adding multiple layers in the image, in order to provoke a reaction from the spectator. In this portrait, a sense of horizontal and vertical is also lost, disorienting the viewers.
4. Photo by foxbeta_photo.
It is a typical scene at the beach with nothing really eye catchy. Pictures can speak a lot or nothing, but the most important thing is the power to suggest, to leave viewers certain freedom to discover the scene for their own pleasure.
5. Photo by tuan3991. Why this photo is chosen to be the center of this Instagram mosaic is certainly because it contains symbols – a way to visually convey ideas. It allows me to make the selection of this month in a conceptual rather than editorial manner. It has enough gravity to attract others images around.
6. Photo by soi_photography. It takes some time to find out which layer is on the front and which is on the back. An good example of how an image doesn’t need to be in 3D to have depth.
7. Photo by weepingdaisy. An eerie, “memento mori” photo gently reminding viewers of the transient nature of earthly life. Despite the pale color palette, the rosy light reflected on the subject’s skin gives enough warmth to overcome the morbid form. The choice of color can surely change our perception.
8. Photo by phongsmonologues. Contrasting with other photos in the selection, this is a raw and brutal image. The carnal physicality of a deformed boiled chicken generates repulsion and disgust. Besides being things of beauty, images can leave us speechless.
9. Photo by ngochuan. A child was looking at a phone, sitting comfortably in a sofa seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Despite the strange scene, this doesn’t have a staged feeling but seem to be a casual snapshot of urban oddity. It has good composition like a journalistic image and shows the living environment of both the child and the photographer.
Quang Lam is a Saigon-based freelance photographer. He is developing a community using photography as a medium for expression, by founding XEM magazine and running Inlen Photo Gallery dedicated to fine art prints and books publishing.