Fury Unseen

The show. The photo essays.

Over the past 48 hours, my inboxes across all apps, devices and social platforms have comprised a lot of emphatic “finally”’s. Granted, I was only supposed to be away from home for 3 weeks in May, and ended up being away for 3 months, jobbing continent to continent. More and more, I find it difficult to write on the road without a return flight booked. You’re psychologically unsettled – conscious of the impermanence of your iCal appointments; conscious that your less-than-100mL carry-on liquids are running low; conscious of the nervous tutting of your acupuncturist at the state of your back and jaw tension and digestive points (miscellaneously attributable to laptop time and air travel).

Truthfully, I wanted this post to be the big reveal, with all the change and consolidation already here, so that I could show you what I’ve been developing under the radar over the most part of this year. It feels as if I’ve spent all this time collecting my thoughts, and now that I’ve boarded the final leg back to my apartment and (surely dead) kitchen plants, all my captive introspections have thawed like an Artic shelf time lapse in an Animal Planet documentary, after which David Attenborough declares that Spring [pause for effect] has arrived. And suddenly, I have so much to say.

I’m ok with it if you are.

As I feel you’ve now had sufficient downtime to recover from my consistent reminders of the book, the exhibition, the book, the exhibition, the book,

Margaret-Zhang-Unseen-Exhibition-Sydney-2017

Margaret-Zhang-Unseen-Exhibition-Sydney-2017-Korea-Town-Hong-Kong

stereotypes and unrealistic aesthetic demands. Somewhere in the crossfire of perceived perfection, we become trapped in this adopted social skin, shouting silently into the void to nobody in particular about our reluctant acceptance of the skin-deep in favour of character and intelligence and self-expression”.

Last year, my go-to small talk was primarily about distinguishing between what is personal and what is private in an invasive digital universe – to carve out the beneficial function of the web from its frivolities. Now, I’m preaching tactile experiences that incite a clarity that can only come with removing yourself from the deafening chatter of every individual and entity with an opinion, vying for your overcast attention.

That is what I wanted for my exhibition. Being present. Among others, sure – but merely being aware of the collective and its common goal of overcoming that tendency to reach for a distraction when the task at hand is less than smooth sailing. There’s only one photograph in your field of vision. Study it. My curation of my unseen photographic works was not about colourful documentary photos that most have come to associate with my social media accounts.

 

Margaret Zhang Exhibition - 3

Margaret Zhang Exhibition - 2

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Strangely, this exchange has has remained a measure of reality.  If even in LalaLand, we can have this degree of clarity, perhaps there’s hope yet.

[Heads up: I have a few one-off prints left from my UNSEEN exhibition still available to order online HERE

About

Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.