What is life and what is death? One moment we are here, and then we are gone. That is the reality of life.

 

Buddhism teaches us that all life is a cycle of death and rebirth. Taoists believe that eternal life could exist in people, such as coming back to life after death. However, it was the spirits that lived on and not the body.

 

In Chinese Folk Culture, the 7th month in the Lunar Calendar is known as the Hungry Ghost Month. It is believed that during this period, the gates of hell are opened. A period when humans and spirits walk as one on earth. What was once dead is now amongst the living, what is living will someday be amongst the dead. This is the circle of life.

 

In the art of photography, it’s believed that a photograph is a factual rendition of reality and life. But is it?

 

The photographs presented in this project consist of street portraits of people who gather at Ge-Tai shows (popular song and dance shows) that are held during the lunar 7th month to appease the spirits.

 

Hand-held long exposures create an exaggerated sense of movement and softness. The deliberate tight cropping of each photograph enables the grain of the negative to be much more pronounced, making the subjects look almost like ash and dust.

 

Through this project, I meditate on the meaning of life and after and explore the reality and concept of living and death.