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Frozen Words II

Artist Statement

I usually get the feeling that I am talking to my very self while I am photographing myself. These photographs indeed turn into internal dialogues. Interestingly, the nature of creativity in shooting myself is very similar to talking to oneself. We arouse questions for ourselves and then try to answer them. We isolate ourselves from the rest of the world while we do this. A very similar feeling emerges while I am taking photographs of myself. I am confronted with the 'words' which are 'frozen' in isolation in the air.

Generally, the painting of a self-portrait is a means of self-investigation. We search for our inner self and our hidden authenticity through inspection and introspection, that is by studying ourselves and by looking behind our physical appearance. Many questions (enquiries) are posed during this investigation. We doubt our existence. We question the contradiction between the superficial face and the inner mind. We consume much time in searching for and producing our own identities. These processes are complicated and confusing.

The creative intentions behind the painting and the photographing of self-portraits are similar, although the media, the processes and the presentation are very different. In the way that I photograph, I never design the product in advance. All the shots are taken without planning; they are impromptu. Indeed, I only use a few seconds to compose and to create them before I press the shutter release button. I never spend a long time examining and inspecting my creations. Have I neglected the in-depth investigation of myself and the search for my own identity by making the process so fast and extemporaneous?

This extemporaneousness is unique and exciting. I take a photograph only when I am interested in that particular moment I am encountering. I record my own image and the surroundings together through the photographic medium. These photographs represent my perceptions and interpretations of the surroundings rather than a concern for evidence of my existence. These photographs are not simply documents of my daily life. Different occasions present their own unique contents and meanings. None of these photographs has the same representations. They depict sadness, sorrow, curiosity, happiness, loss, willingness... I use these basic elements to search for and investigate my own identity, just as in the painting of a self-portrait.

Wai Kit Lam

Hong Kong


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