2nd Place, Kurt Tong, UK
Sweet Water Bitter Earth
Chinese people outside of China often struggle with their Chinese identity, with many having an idealised image of what the motherland is like, whether it’s from stories told by our relatives or from the romanticised views of the movies. The reality is often very different, especially given the accelerated speed at which China is changing. It is often this failure to meet our expectations and the vast, often unexpected difference in cultures that alienate us from feeling comfortable and secure with our roots.
After trying to photograph my ancestral town, I realised how few connections I have with the place, emotionally or physically. I realised that my own vision of China was also shaped by TV shows of my childhood and more recently, photographic projects made in China. I went further into China in search of my own preconceived image of China.
However as I traveled to all corners of the vast country, I found myself connecting only to the landscapes, whilst feeling alienated and disconnected from the people; I realised that my dream of redemption and return to a lost homeland was, ultimately, a failure.