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↗safety distance
← 2022.05
Safety Distance is the name of this photo book. 

Most of the time, we look upward to capture some sight of the birds. These creatures always keep a courteous distance from us. When I do not have any professional equipment or particular patience that a real birdwatcher would possess, I can only take advantage of the chance in life when a bird happens to land near me. However, as soon as I get too close, invading their comfort zone, they will quickly fly away, high enough that I find it hard to interact even with eyes. There is always a distance to maintain, and most of the time, we need to raise our heads. It is such a beautiful thing if I think deeper about it. Birds are now a mentor of mine, leading my vision skyward to look away from what I am busy doing every day.

I remembered seeing in an exhibition not long ago, a verse from T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton: 

“Go, go, go said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality.”

I chose it to be the Preface of Safety Distance. Then why photography? Another part in the same exhibition, fortuitous or not, was about Andy Warhol, and there was whose sentence:

“I told them that I didn’t believe in art, that I believed in photography.” 

I chose it to be the Epilogue of Safety Distance. Then what to photograph? Birds are such free beings. They have wings bringing them to almost every corner of the world. Therefore, I shall not limit them to my viewport. I transformed them into a more abstract representation, that is, by the angle and distance. I reached out to my family members and friends, looking for their eyes. I collected in total 38 images from them about what they saw when they raised their heads and looked away from what they might be doing at the moment. 

I printed those photographs on transparent acetate, and as a result, they naturally overlap. The layered images are like a bird flying away from me, so vague and only a silhouette to identify. One can only access and distinguish each photo when plain paper is placed beneath each page. That sheet of paper acts as a safety distance. Only when a safety distance is maintained between the pages are we able to see what other people see. Does this matter? Do we have to see every picture clearly? I equally enjoy it when the visions from all individuals overlap and form another new picture. At this time, different things caught by different eyes come to a point of harmony. It is without the safety distance. 

However and whatsoever, regardless of what each of us sees, the essential is always, always remember to look up.
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Safety Distance Cover 1Safety Distance Cover 2

A sip of music if you'd like:
"Birds, My Birds Rest Your Wings...Fly Away In The Sky Again" by Hideo Ichikawa


↑ The following text is taken from the colophon of the book:Safety Distance is the name of a photo book containing 69 images in total. 38 images came from my family and friends, for whom I wrote down names next to their pictures. The other 31 photos are moments recorded by myself throughout the years, for thinking, reflecting, and making. 

The typeface used in the book is ABC Diatype.
Spray-painted wood cover
3.5 * 8 inches booklet through perfect binding with spine covered in red fabric
Printed on acetate material
Sometimes a single sheet of white paper might be in use: it is not a requirement

always, always remember to look upward

↖safety distance