Chinese photographer Quentin Shih has become prominent within the fashion industry for his photographic collaborations with the House of Dior. His photos evoke a sense of minimal, streamline beauty within the many collaborative he has done with Dior. But what is fascinating about Mr. Shih’s work is that his photographs are evidently more than mere advertisement for an already notable label. If anything his work seems filled with social and political issues within but within the most subtle of details. What is striking for me is Shih’s ability to fuse the goals of Dior’s aesthetic with the Chinese political landscape and additionally a staunch sense of role reversal at play within the images, a sense of “Occidentalism” vs. Orientalism. I am thinking in particular to his 2008 collaboration with Dior. Evidently the images of his 2008 collaborations seem to play into questions of: “the other,” commodity culture, the homogenous nature of Chinese citizens in the communist landscape. In addition his work seems to even evoke the same sense of capitalist ambivalence and the dogmatic presence of signs within the Chinese landscape, note how despite the figures being framed, they merely fade into the distance as the CHinese characters inevitably dominates the viewer attention. Nevertheless, the purist aesthetic of Shih’s work seems to deliver an unquestionable strength relative to the sea of radicalism that has defined China’s contemporary “avant garde.”
Series of discussion on Quentin Shih to be continued.