Auto Nation, Subway & Pilot | 2017

The billboards that line our streets and highways are the visual representations of consumer culture. Their physical structure and ability to advertise products are more important than the specific items they promote. In this body of work, I transform billboards into bodies of light to enhance their existence and critique their significance in consumer culture.
Long-term exposures flood the billboards with light, essentially erasing the advertisement and the information it contains. This releases the billboard from its given function and endows it with a new definition: an icon of consumerism. The contrast between brightness and darkness releases the billboards and mystifies them, providing a fresh perspective on these familiar objects. As the dominant light source in the photograph, the billboard breaks through its bleak surroundings. The relationship between structure and nature becomes a metaphor for the tension of consumerism in our daily life. The monolithic look of the glaring rectangle overlaps with its commercial essence and becomes a symbolic monument which people worship in contemporary society.


McDonald’s | 2018


Sacred Territory | 2018

Sacred Territory employs light, the most sacred element in our world, as a metaphor to critique consumer culture in our life. The use of diptychs shot with large format camera suggests the typical, horizontal panoramic format of most billboards and also presents a sense of how the consumerism spread out in our life. These stepped back views reveal the influence of artificial light on the night landscape and are organized to create graphic striations of artificial light within the darkness, interrogate advertising images in the American landscape and illuminate the metaphorical function of light in the built environment. In addition, photography serves as meta-commentary as well in Sacred
Territory. Photography itself is complicit in consumer culture, but more basically photography is the product of light. Through deliberate technical and formatting choices, this body of work speaks to exposure both literally and figuratively.

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.

Tianran Qin


Tianran Qin is a photographer and a visual artist. Employing both the cutting-edge digital techniques and the traditional film negative, Qin emphasizes the significance of photography in his works and utilizes the photographic illusion to reveal the issues exist in the contemporary society. Born in Beijing, China in 1988, Qin started to contact with photography during his senior high school study. After earned the bachelor’s degree of engineering in industrial design, Qin worked for two e-commerce companies as a photographer and run his own photo studio at the same time for several years. In 2015, Qin went to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Savannah College of Art and Design and successfully got his MFA in 2018. Now, Qin is living and working in New York.

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