Muge from Chengdu, China has some amazing portraits of strangers taken in the streets in his series, Silent. Set against the background of rapidly growing China, most of the images possess a melancholic feel; individuals lost in their seas of thoughts, trying to understand an absurd world.
While the subjects’ contemplation seem to reach some sort of philosophic nirvana, I believe that it reflects the photographer’s inner world more than what these people have in their minds. Their thoughts may be more banal than we perceive, perhaps the lonely male is checking a girl passing by, a housewife ponders on what to cook for dinner. A sense of mystery pervades the entire series.
TOP TO BOTTOM, from (“Silent“)
© Muge, 2005-2008
Besides this series, you should also check out Going Home, an unintentional documentation of the transformation taking place in the Three Gorges area. Instead, it was an attempt of remembrance, to keep one’s memories intact. Photography becomes a tool to turn memories into something tangible.
Today, I visited an old street where my grandmother used to stay with some relatives. The changes that have taken place were too much to bear. I could still remember the smells and sounds of the place where I spent some parts of my childhood. It really hurt to see it all forgotten and wiped clean. My cousin lamented that she could no longer recognize the place and wished we had photographs to remember how it used to be.
Visit Muge’s website to see more of his work.