For Chinese American photographer Daniel Lee Postaer, his interest in photography originates from his endless fascination with the relationship between cities and their inhabitants. Through his lens, he strives to capture the overlooked beauty of ordinary moments in urban settings around the world. “There’s an un-staged theatricality to our everyday world that I search for through picture-making,” he says. “So, whether it’s San Francisco, Tokyo, or Chongqing — I’m trying to make sense of time and place through my photography… A photo has the ability to say something about the larger moment in time that we collectively live in. It’s an inherent value of the medium that I deeply respect.”
In his ongoing photo series, Motherland, Postaer explores the ever-changing urban fabric of modern-day China, a country that, to him — as someone who’s half-Chinese — feels both familiar yet foreign. “I’m both an insider and outsider. I’ve lived, worked, and sweated here in China,” Postaer says. “But I’m American and was born with that perspective. So I inherently come with that outsider perspective and sensibility. That being said, even on the streets of Los Angeles I can feel like an outsider.”
Postaer regards photos that only exist digitally as unfinished products, believing that a photograph isn’t truly a photograph until it’s seen in print, He wants to encourage people to experience photography in a tangible form, as something that can be physically held and shared with others. “In our Instagram-image-saturated, iPhone-picture-billboarded world, I still revere the experience of a finely printed photograph in a book or framed on a wall,” he says. “I believe the photographic print can deliver and emote a tactile visual experience like no other medium.”
To experience Postaer’s large-format photos in person for yourself, drop by his solo exhibition, Daniel Lee Postaer: Motherland, which will be showcasing 32 prints from his Motherland series that contains over 200 works. The exhibition will be kicking off later this week at Shanghai’s Longmen Art Projects and will run from August 12th to September 16th.