I did nothing other than to tell them to smile

笑ってだけを言った

"Hot soup on the table, cotton clothes, a television set that never turns off." These are the things that make up a traditional Chinese family.

 

My father was the youngest of three brothers, and my mother was the youngest of five children and the only daughter among them. The influence of collectivism brought conventions and habits into their lives: "Don't be different from others." In contrast, I was born in 1994, when the Chinese government was promoting the "one child" policy, and as is the case for many families, I am an only child. Throughout my upbringing, my parents and I faced a new kind of intimacy together, without any prior experience to refer to. We tried to understand each other and become friends.But unlike immigrant families, I left, and they remained in their hometown.

 

When I took photographs, my father would ask, "There's nothing here, what are you shooting?" My mother would scold him, "What do you know? This is art.”

 

This conversation was interesting.Did they really understand what their daughter, who was studying in art school, was doing every day?

 

These photos were taken on their wedding anniversary. I first started taking them with the concept of playing pranks and role-playing the drama. When they refused to take these strange photos, I persuaded them by saying, "It's a wedding photo.” They had never taken wedding photos in the past, so they found my words to be convincing. They thought, "Maybe this is art.”

 

I originally hoped to reconcile our relationship and understand each other better through this project. During the shooting process, however, a kind of intimate yet awkward relationship arose between us. Gradually, we became accustomed to this mode of photography, and it no longer felt strange, nor did we need to explain too much. I now believe that in an intimate relationship, it is better not to overemphasize mutual understanding. Simply watching what one another are doing is the best kind of relationship.