photographs and text by
Ride is more of a visual poem than a photo documentary, where my own confusing identity as a French woman of Chinese heritage is intertwined with China’s rapidly changing cultural identity.
This series of photos was taken in Beijing over the course of one year in 2009 during my daily morning rides to work. On those mornings, I let myself slip into reverie. Enclosed in a narrow vehicle, I acted as a quiet observer. My visual curiosity turned the taxi into a portable laboratory where I got to examine and dissect the ever-changing environment which surrounded me. I saw people, they saw me, but we never met. I silently observed the chaotic ballet of cars, bikes and people. Between voyeurism and contemplation, my focus on insignificant objects and anonymous people seemed to amplify their significance.
The use of blurred photography, the shaky movements of the camera, and the intentionally low quality feel of the images recreate the chaos and confusion in which I was entrapped. This relentless photographic communication with my environment gradually brought me to meditate on the complexity of China, and ponder my own relationship to it. As a Chinese person born in France, I have a volatile identity that refuses to be either one or the other. I feel on the edge and never complete.
—Claire Bayrasy submitted this series to the 2009 Lens Culture International Exposure Awards. Although the jury didn't award her a prize, we at Lens Culture love the work and are delighted to feature a selection here.