Boston-based photographer Zhidong Zhang describes his practice as a manifestation of vulnerability, defiance, and his beliefs. Informed by his experiences as a queer person raised in a traditional Chinese family in Hunan, China, “Natural Impersonation” explores intersections of gender, race, sexuality, identity construction, and the representational system. Zhang collaborates with close friends and family members in the creation of staged portraits and still lifes which he describes as “alluring and voyeuristic scenes inflected with fantasy, trauma, fetish, and violence.” He explains:
“By introducing the private realm of same-sex romance and intimacy into a public sphere, against the backdrop of a heteronormative and phallocentric structure, I attempt to reexamine how the exteriorization of homoeroticism is made visible and accessible in a state of grotesque masquerade and performance, which consequently mimics a proximity to an alternative reality that challenges the rigid and stereotypical codes of identity construction, gender roles, and traditional cultural values. Together, it becomes a description of a rather peculiar experience, looking inward, longing outward.”
See more from “Natural Impersonation” below!