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ways of moving

pinhole polaroids, 10cm x 10cm



This project was inspired by a traditional Chinese funeral ritual. In order to give our blessing to the ancestors in the after-world, we prepare various models made from paper, such as paper cars, paper combs, or paper clothes. We burn these objects to ‘deliver’ them to the after-world. The act of burning is a process of transformation – we prepare paper models to remember the dead, while at the same time we burn them to forget our yearning and sadness.

In this work, I used photographs to construct a set of the room I lived in New Cross, London. There were three stages to the project:

The first stage was to collect and gather materials. I used a digital camera to take numerous pictures of my room, all from the same perspective, for the background of the set. I also took pictures of the furniture and my personal belongings from different angles, for instance photographing each side of the cabinet, the desktop, the bookshelf, etc.

The second stage was to construct the room. I used Adobe Photoshop to work on the images, stitching together the different shots of the various objects, before printing the image out on photographic paper, cutting it out, and folding it so as to transform it back into a three-dimensional object. In other words, the original scene was captured in photographs, imported onto a computer and reassembled with Adobe Photoshop, before finally being re-converted into a collection of three-dimensional objects by folding the photographic paper.

The third stage was to photograph the constructed room. I used a pinhole Polaroid camera to ‘record’ the setting. Some accidents occurred during the long exposures, such as furniture falling over or the paper models falling apart. Because of the pinhole Polaroid camera’s long exposures, only what was truly still left traces on the film. The photographic results require a double vision – the viewer looks at a photograph of a room, and also a photograph of photographs.

© 2014 YinHua Chu

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