FEIFAN ZHANG | CHICAGO IL, USA
FeiFan Zhang is a Photography MFA 2017 candidate at Columbia College Chicago. She received her BA in English Literature from Beijing International Studies University in Beijing, China, where she is originally from. Her work is currently based in Chicago in the United States, where she carries her interest of the built environment that inspired from contemporary urban cities such as Beijing.
What is your work about?
The built environment can change rapidly. The changes in urban geography carry away the evidence of history and past human interactions and bring new constructions.
I’m interested in questioning the conventional way we look at our cities, our expectations for the city, and how we, as the inhabitants place, ourselves in the changing built environment. On the one hand, the city appears to be permanent and immoveable. On the other hand, it keeps reforming and reshaping, sometimes resulting in odd, out of control, and uncertain urban spaces.
Through my photographs, I hope to depict the uncertain space in the urban built environment, where various intentions of design and structure clash with one another. These spaces are built with petrified geometric conventions, yet are psychologically and socially evacuated with their objectives.
How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Photographing on film with the 4×5 view camera have important effects on my work especially because the subject matter of my work mainly focuses on the built environment.
The large format camera helps me to photograph and work in more dynamic ways and significantly avoids the distortion that a digital camera often makes.
The large format negative gives me a lot more flexibility in post-production editing and printing. It also offers more light & shadow and color depth for the prints. The physical space of the print is also an important aspect of my artistic practice, so working with large format film negatives also serves the purpose of making bigger prints as “the art for the wall,” and offers the viewer the physical space to “enter” into the spaces in my work.
Working with film is usually slower than in digital. But it also makes me slow down and to think more carefully for making better work with the right tool.