The LA-based photographer bathing her subjects in glorious light
“I always want to show the world how I see it: quiet, calm and bathed in good light,” Valerie Chiang says. It’s a mantra that sees her capture with equal romance remote villages in Taiwan on the one hand, and the expansive American West on the other. Accordingly, championing simplicity and sincerity is key: “medium and large format film … lets me think about what I am photographing, making sure everything is well-composed and everything I include in the frame is intentional.”
To that end, Valerie’s photography is like writing an essay: “I have a thesis, and I need my supporting arguments.” Having developed her own practice as a result of interning with Sharon Lockhart, Valerie’s attention to detail, which is truly an obsession of intention, ensures each image is itself a portrait, “grounded in reality [but with] a fictional, cinematic feel.”
In Valerie’s ongoing project The 35th Parallel, she investigates the evolution of transport in the American West, charting the technological, social and physical developments of this landscape as civilisation passed through, era by era. As wagon roads become railroads and then highways, this iterative transformation is channeled through Valerie’s lens with triumphant precision, resulting in a series which ponders, ambitiously, on the uncertain future of this place.