Interview with Mengzhu Jiang for CCP Site Unseen
Photography by Mengzhu Jiang
Mengzhu Jiang is a trained architect and photographer who works as a designer in New York. Drawn to the freedom of architecture photography, Site Unseen sees Mengzhu explore how architecture as a subject can be an unconscious reflection of our feelings at a point in time.
Tell us about yourself, what’s your background and how has this led you to architectural photography?
Mengzhu Jiang: I am trained in architecture and I currently work as a designer in New York. My interest in architecture photography started because there's something really fun and freeing about walking aimlessly with a camera, taking photos of spaces, and watching it change. I enjoy being the observer and at the same time images are observing me. It reflects back to me how or why I saw something in a certain way. This process of understanding myself is fascinating and ever-changing.
The exhibition poses the question, ‘what does the photographer bring to the image, and indeed, is the photographer’s presence welcome?’—how does this relate to your submitted work?
MJ: The short answer is: everything. I think it is impossible to achieve photography that is purely objective. To capture the existing into an image involves maybe thousands of little decisions, some conscious, some unconscious. A photograph is always reflective of how the creator views either a category of photography or themselves. Sometimes photography helps the photographer bring out something about them they were not even aware of.
In the past decade, what about your work has changed and what has stayed the same? ?
MJ: I always hope my images contain visual balance, but the meaning of that has changed tremendously. This is reflective of my personal changes and evolving relationship with photography as well. I used to be much more driven by rationality, and visual composition was something I really enjoyed through photography. Learning to be more sensitive to my environment through the work has been a significant shift. These days I am more interested in photographs that surprise me and shows me something I could have never achieved through rational thought.
What are you working on next?
MJ: I have been trying to trust my intuition more and let that guide my photographic process; possibly a new project is already brewing but it will not be evident until this new relationship with photography matures!
For more of Mengzhu's work, follow Mengzhu on Instagram.
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