Meeting the Photographer who doesn’t like to photograph
John Clang is a contradiction. He’s an internationally-celebrated photographer — yet keeps reminding us that his work is not about photo-taking, but facilitating hindsight.
In Of Frames and Passing Time – The Gift of a Year, he uses the most basic photography tool – the disposable – and puts it in the hands of an amateur (his father) to create a flashback story through five perspectives.
Five perspectives? His dad’s, his, the two collaborators (Cheryl Loh and John Chia) and ours (the viewer’s). John Clang emphasises the contradiction between seeing and sensing by showing that anything presented too blatantly stops us from fully understanding a different perspective.
And we get what this means, as we peer from behind the black box to guess his father’s hidden messages from the clues reflected in the mirror.
Most importantly, we witness how – through connecting multiple timeframes – John’s understanding of his father grows deeper, and with it an awareness of how our parents’ time perspective and ours are interlinked.
Such is the magic of the photographer who doesn’t like to photograph.