I have lived large parts of my life trying to gain acceptance by conforming and pleasing others. I chose an educational route that seemed reputable and safe. I suppressed my Thainess while settling in Australia (and vice versa when I moved back to Thailand). In retrospect, I can see that even when I found my true path into photography, I initially sought validation through replicating visual norms. While building my knowledge in this field, I relied on an established, recognised approach. When I deviated from this, I could not get useful feedback on my work or find a place for it. It took time and experience for me to understand that these constraints were hindering my progress. Gradually, I learned to explore what was natural for my interests rather than being bound to one set way of making photographs.
In considering my approach to Crossing Boundaries, I have reflected on my natural inclination to conform to the expectations of society, fuelled by worries over what other community members might think of me — even within the realm of contemporary photography. Having had to re-evaluate this approach in order to be more comfortable with my life choices, this series represents another step in a challenging process that has ultimately steered me towards my true course. The series reinforces a positive message about breaking through unnecessarily restrictive boundaries in life.
The works within Crossing Boundaries take inspiration from the pressures of social engagement and the effect of visual illusions found within our shared public spaces. They are influenced by modernist painting, including Abstract Expressionism, and contemporary forms of candid, political and collaged imagery. These pieces pinpoint fleeting moments and highlight lush, surprising views of the colours and patterns around us. Storytelling is a motivating factor and Crossing Boundaries develops this through layering images, creating a matrix of narrative meaning within the semi-abstract compositions.
Some of the series is a form of portraiture. This is a vital element of the works as I cannot separate boundaries and borders from people’s experience of — and place in — society. The recurring motif of a face captures eye-to-eye moments with the subject, often through advertising imagery. The reassuring anchor of the face is undermined by the layering, which gives the impression that the person is slipping away from reality, out of reach. The layers become barriers in themselves. The full-forward stance of the subjects is reminiscent of passport photos and the close-cropped relentless gaze unnerves with its intrusion on our boundaries.
The final images combine both digital and analogue photography techniques. Their painterly construction hints at pixel structure, urban patinas and the kaleidoscopic nature of perception. Emotion and the complexity of interaction are introduced through multiple veils of colour fragmentation. I use this to indicate degrees of understanding within communication and memory. The use of accumulation, repetition and blur, references the transient nature of our experiences within public spaces. The directness of vibrant colour is counterbalanced with intriguing intangibility within the imagery. This leaves space for imagination and interpretation.
Crossing Boundaries creates a visual experience that is alive and vibrating, as our experience in real life often is. But within that lies an other-worldliness, emulating the liminal space of daydreams where our hopes and fears reside. The images are at once bold and substantial with robust colour palettes and elements of solidity, but at the same time, they are in flux. What we are seeing captures the transience of a personal realisation.
Society’s boundaries need not be physical, our experience of them is emotional and cerebral. We are bound by the invisible, the intangible. Crossing Boundaries invites you to look beyond the conventional to realise your true potential.
"When you are completely free from boundaries, you don't have to have a huge number of material things. You already own something far more precious. You own yourself," –Deepak Chopra.