“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
- Flora Lewis
For an international exchange of my university I had visited China. As I was selected to welcome and tutor the Chinese students in Germany later on, so I studied some spoken and written Chinese. What fascinated me most was how some words were built from images and how learning one could change how I look at the world.
The sign for 'good' is the combination of the character for 'woman' and 'child' (not sure how this reflects on divorce rates...) Some are more figurative: 亻 (human) + ⽊ (tree) = 休 -> i.e. man to a tree leaning xiū means 'to rest'. Wilhelm von Humboldt said that language shapes our view of the world. In this case it was very visible in the composition in writing.
Back in Europe I processed this experience in a photoproject on language, culture, migration east, west, how we look at things... The photos where taken in Chinatowns of western metropolises (New York, Paris and London). Where Eastern and Western cultures meet - through migration and through me as a viewer. With the choice of a panoramic camera, which I used vertically instead of horizontally, I forced myself to an unfamiliar point of view but also resemble the traditional Chinese writing from top to bottom.
Canon Profifoto Förderpreis 2011
2011 Galerie FB2, „Fokus Frau”, Dortmund – group exhibition
2012 Photokina, boulevard of competitions, Cologne – group exhibition
Thanks to all who made this project possible: Søren Pagter from Danish School of Media and Journalism, Thomas Gerwers from Profifoto with the friendly support of Canon. As well as all the couchsurfers and friends who hosted me and helped me with contacts in New York, Paris and London. Oh and not to forget the entire international class and team from DMJX (crazy times with little sleep and lots of memories).