Keep Breathing Until Everything Reflourishes

Family Photo, 2020
Cyanotype on Fabric
35x4 cm

This photography project, is my response to the passing of several relatives over last year. Started as a wish to ease anxi­ety in the family, completed with materials drawn from geomancy manuscripts of my late Gongzu-the father of my grandpa, this project reflects my attempt to bridge the chasm between his well-designed blueprint of the future and the reality, filled with irra­tional disputes over property and inheri­tance. Inspired by Gongzu's immersion in nature while studying geomancy, I reproduced old family photos through Cyanotype, a process that involves interactions with water and sunlight. Then l brought family members to the land of promise found by Gongzu; he had hoped that its auspiciousness could bring fortune to the family. I transferred the symbols, topologi­cal descriptors, and geographical maps illus­trated in the manuscripts to the surface of those portraits, again through cyanotype. The resulting, unpredictable blue-and-white images not only parallel the nuanced and complex interrelationship within the family, but also capture the efforts we made, togeth­er or separately, to live through this mythical and catastrophic year.


© Xiao Zhang 2023