Carrie Lam Taipei, Taiwan
Born and raised in Singapore, Carrie Lam received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) degree majoring in Photography and Digital imaging from the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, Singapore. With great interest in people relationships, memories and identity, Carrie Lam’s work is often about human experience of searching, finding and belonging. Documentary portraiture is the main focus of her work. “I believe that photography is a visual diary, a representation of everyday life leading to a visual idiom that alternates between documentary picture and cinematographic staging.”Often while traveling with a camera I get to see the world from a different point of view. Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place not just what you see but by the way you see it. On anther hand it is also the art of expression, to share with the world your views and ideas. Carrie’s works has been exhibited in Delhi gallery Exhibit 320- “Postcards from the interior”, 2902 Gallery- “Re/collection”, Alliance Francaise de Singapour-“Variegated Realities”. Her photo-story “CURE” came in first during Angkor photo Festival workshop 2011. Her works was selected for International Orange Photo Festival in China 2010.
Carrie Lam was chosen by Solomon Quek
Laatikkomo’s interview with Carrie Lam, March
L: Where are you from? Or what cities, and/or countries have you lived in – what places have influenced you?
CL: Born in Singapore. Living in Taiwan, Taipei. Although both countries the main race is Chinese, they are very different in many ways, culture, political and ideology. It’s undoubted that they have an impact in the way I view and see things.
L: What is your first memory of photography/film?
CL: From my series “Trace of Time” you can tell that my mother loves to take photographs. I have a 20” by 20” inch photo album that my mother kept pictures of me since born till I am 21. Once in awhile we will take it out and have a look. These pictures are the first memories of what photography meant to me: to document life stories. Which I guess has already set the tone in how I photograph.
L: Your work often shows a panoramic view using multiple separate frames usually in triptych or diptych form. Can you talk about your choice to use this format over a single photograph or a series of images from different angles?
CL: To begin with, in the medieval times churches have bible stories told in the form of triptych through glass painting on the window panels. Triptych to me symbolises as a form of story telling. Story telling is how I want my works to be seen and visualize. From far it seems to be a full image. However as you walk nearer, you will visualise the image frame by frame. And this process I feel is like reading a story. Also through triptych it enables me to connect the past and the present. By having an old photograph and new photographs connecting together creating a hyper-reality image, which I aim to test the reality of time.
L: In your series “Trace of Time” you bring another physical layer of time in the use of photographs taken by your mother. In photography, can time be expressed outside the context of memory?
CL: The nature of photography is reminding us of the unstoppable passing of time. “Taking a picture” is an act intended to foster remembering, and by the photograph’s continued existence thereby, and so it helps to shape memory of experience. I quote Susan Sotang: “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
L: Stories play a strong role in your work, and the format of separate frames recalls a cinematic format. Have you used or tested other artistic methods to share your stories?
CL: I began the series with separate frames and the nature of my work requires a triptych format to work, hence it will be my approach for now.
L: Your landscapes seem to be taken from a familiar setting, which is somehow symbolic home. Are these images taken from your familiar landscape or have you created a homely atmosphere through your photography?
CL: My previous series “Line of Connection” is about revisiting and recreating memories with my mother. Most of the landscapes/places are locations that we frequent or have particular meaning in our lives. Eg. Bedroom, favourite restaurants, parks, leisure activities…
These familiar places play an important role in how I remember and tell stories.
L: What traits from your own cultural background are apparent in the photography you currently make, or do you think your background influences your work in any way?
CL: Cultural background I can’t pinpoint as to specifically which traits. However simply put, it’s probably how I was brought up. I come from a closely knitted family, where family ties plays a very important role in my life. It is the relationships that I value and thus making it a clear motivation to document. The fear of memento mori, that inevitability one day our parents will leave us. And what do we have in remembrance of them. This is what keeps me going, to take pictures and recreating memories that I will keep to remember.
L: Could you list 5 (or more) words that you were thinking about when you made this work (shown in Laatikkomo)?
CL: Past, Present, Future, Memory, Connection, Reunion, Love
Thank you so much Carrie!