Lao Xie Xie does not care about the technicalities of photography. Or the reality, for that matter. Neither does he care about the ability of photography to capture the reality in the pictorial matter. “My camera is just a tool that can help me realise my ideas,” he says.
Lao Xie Xie started photographing in 2019 with Olympus Zoom 105, a gift from a friend. Just after a year, the image-maker has had an exhibition in Thailand, released a zine (555), and developed his discernible visual codes.
From a model posing in front of stacks of yellow bicycles in Shanghai’s streets to close-ups of faces nestled in the centre of chicken feet halos; the mundane objects in his photographs exude a certain dynamic quality. There is nothing ‘casual’ about Lao Xie Xie’s work, yet the photographs are somehow a believable depiction of China’s urban youth; his subjects, however absurd, exist in time and space.
Although his photographs subvert traditional Chinese connotations and liberate the body from sartorial constraints, Lao Xie Xie does not wish to provoke. “I want to get your attention,” the image-maker says. “Every single of my photographs is a straight punch in your face, you need to stop and look at it more.” Dynamic, anarchic, hectic; his photographs deliver the message blatantly. “People waste millions of words and, in the end, they talk about nothing,” he says. “We live in a time when we are bombarded by images every single minute, so it’s better not to waste people’s time, to speak straight, be true.”