Collective Self: Photographs by Brandon Lee Gorman
When walking around the streets, your town, your neighborhood, do you hear what’s going on? And if you actually hear, do you really process what the words mean? Walking through Chinatown, New York City, words are flying around as they do in every borough of the city. Hand gestures, signs, and faces speak far beyond the words I hear. Graffiti continues the soundless dialogue. The same was true in China, as I explored the streets of Shanghai. Walking along the tightrope of insider and outsider, I was accepted into the community by the nonverbal language of nods and later dialogue. As an artist, the photograph is my language. Capturing the multitude of moments, the camera leaves nothing but the truth for the eye and mind to hear. The camera sees and captures color, but it does not discriminate. It is astonishing how much anti-Chinese racism can be heard both within the walls of China and Chinatown, as well as outside. The Collective Self breaks these boundaries of color and race. What do you see when you look into these moments? While this series focuses on the similarities and differences found within the Chinese populations of the East and West, the art speaks so much more than if this were research. Take this walk with me through the sidewalks of China and Chinatown. What do you hear?