8”x10”, digital print
The thriving Chinese economy has led to rapid developments of large cities and mega industrial hubs in all parts of China. More and more people are continuously moving from their rural hometown to one of these financial hotspots in search for better opportunities. Sometimes, these new city dwellers can feel lost in the present and forget how things were back in their hometown. Houses and streets they were raised in became pieces of faint recollections, along with the memories of old friends and loved ones who have stayed behind.
In 2015, I was given a chance to return to Shidao, a rural town in Shandong, China. I had spent six years at this place, which is also my mother’s hometown. I was in shock to see the number of abandoned houses in this humble little town. I learnt from the locals that a lot of people (especially the young ones) have gone to the nearby cities so they can make more money. The majority of them never came back. I felt sad for the ones who have left. To me, it was unfortunate that they had to abandon their homes in order to make a better living. I was also sad about the houses that were left unattended. Not only because they carry the childhood memories of the people who have left, but also because these houses represent the commemoration of the precious history and unique culture of this town.
In this series of photos, I captured the warped and broken doors of the abandoned houses I saw in Shidao. The blurred images tell a story of the continuously deteriorating memories that were left behind these closed decrepit doors. The doors themselves remain still and forgotten, standing as a nostalgic reminder of the things and people that were once dear to us. I hope my photos can serve as a record for these beloved memories, and that they can help us remember what is most important to us in the midst of our hectic urban way of life.