Critique

Portfolio: Tim Fenby

Freelance photographer from Australia, graduated from the Swinburne University of Melbourne, the department of Media Arts. Published his works in Wired and Vice.
Tim Fenby Age 27

Freelance photographer from Australia, graduated from the Swinburne University of Melbourne, the department of Media Arts. Published his works in Wired and Vice.

— I heard about Nanjing, the communist town in China, on the radio. About how it is still functioning totally out of date. I got interested but couldn’t find good images online. Curiosity drives.

And that’s the same with my next project: I plan to visit Tianducheng — Themes Towns — built near Shanghai, small copies of different European cities. Now most of them stay empty, but people from the urban areas will soon inhabit them — China doesn’t have too much vast land. I want to visit all those cities, see those streets and people who might soon leave for some little Paris. Few journalists already brought this theme, but only on the level of “wow, the Chinese are crazy and building Paris near Shanghai!” I want to dig deeper into the theme, talk to people, know their reasons.

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Initially, I chose China because of the intrigue: I read and heard about strange things from my pretty naive western perspective, but I wanted to see them. This country also offers an interesting experience of on-looking over the conflicts: government control over social life, industrial development, and cultural changes. This all comes more naturally in other parts of the world, but in China things are ideologically forced or damped, and thus creates perturbations and provides a lot of matters and themes.

Photography for me is a combination of art and journalism: first, because I like to literally create things that are beautiful, or strange, or interesting, and second, because I want to present social and cultural issues accepted as news — by the badge of the revelation.

I’m bringing up the bridge between journalism and fine arts, that’s nothing new, that’s what NatGeo or Magnum are doing. And more importantly photography gives freedom — you need nothing but a camera and nobody but yourself.

Photography gives freedom — you need nothing but a camera and nobody but yourself.

I was paid for a couple of stories, published in Wired and Vice, but I don’t really make money on photography. My first visit to China was in March 2015 and it lasted only 3 weeks. I would have stayed longer if I could — that’s only a matter of money. However, a photographer also needs a deadline — staying too long on one story deadens perceptions and slows senses and in the end, things become boring.

I don’t know what I would do if not photography. Heroin and poetry would be nice but no plan B for me because of Baudelaire.

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