Blowing in the wind – Jieying Shao

‘Blowing in the Wind’ concerns death and memory. It is a depiction of the relationship between people and their deceased loved ones. It is not portrait-based but about the clothes which belong to the deceased. In this way, it intends to discuss how people deal with their loss and the connection and the memories people keep after the physical fact of death.

The decision to focus on the deceased person’s clothes as symbols of the lost bodily form but retained spirit has a personal relevance and motivation for the project. It started with my discussion with my parents about death. One of the purposes of the work is to generate reflection within my family. However, as the subject of loss has sadly become more relevant through the death of my best friend not long after I started the project, it becomes more personal. The work engaging with others with their own loss might have the potential to explore the subject as a collaborative therapeutic process.   

By understanding that the work is not about making a statement about death but a record of the time spent with the collaborators marking their loss, I want to develop this project into a poetic engagement and record of time spent remembering lost ones.

The feelings of human beings are such a complicated topic that involves layers of ambiguity. Amidst topics on family, emotions, and memory, death is a sensitive matter that we tend not to talk about. There is always a very long mourning period when a loved one leaves us forever, and there is a cultural barrier to open discussion about loss, grief and mourning exist. However, conversations about our attitudes toward death are healthy, easing fears and helping us live fuller lives.

I am more often called by the name Spoon. I am a Chinese documentary photographer and writer. Born and raised in China, I started my practice by exploring topics about relationships, family, memory and emotions from a variety of visual perspectives, combining painting, writing and photography. I live in London, UK as a current student of the MA photojournalism and documentary photography program at London College of Communication. 

www.spoonshao.com / instagram.com/spoonshao