First photo in this series: Inside Fragrant
In Shaoxing, China
Tool: Sony NEX 5C, Adobe Photoshop
Juror’s choice Miao Zhao’s Inside Fragrant addresses our quest for understanding what is beneath the surface on several levels, relying on both conceptual and pictorial means. Zhao’s photography is a documentary to the socially minded, letting us imagine lives we have never experienced; however, it also is a geometrical exploration of the inner warmth beneath the cold interior. Taking the risk of framing an unbalanced, slightly Malevichian and, for the most part, seemingly uneventful scene, the image invites us to take a close look at both the “empty” and the “busy” parts of the photograph. Of course, the seemingly uneventful is not really empty; the cracks of the wall, the rich shades of blue, the pavement and the dark benchy object are combined into a powerful composition, capturing our eyes while pushing our sight towards the heavily framed window. From the cold of the almost monochrome blue we peep into the Dutch 17th century. Almost, that is. We can almost feel the yellow warmth of the fire, we can almost smell the fragrance of the meal being prepared, and we almost recognize a keg in the background. But before we get lost in time travel, the all too modern faucet suddenly disturbs our longing for a lost time, and we are soberly brought back to the 21st century. Our visual tour is over, the powerful photograph, however, invites us for a second and a third ride.
—— Zsolt Bátori from PH21 Gallery