“When you roll down the windows, you can smell home even with your eyes closed. It’s the smell of seawater, salt, and dead fish. Those who are leaving can’t wait to forget it, and those going home want to embrace it. I’m going home.”
In his thoughtful photobook “A Journey In Reverse Direction,” Chinese artist Zhu Lanqing engages the topic of how his hometown (his upbringing, his family, his experiences, his childhood) has shaped his life. Through photographs, personal anecdotes (in Chinese and English translation) and the book’s design, Lanqing guides us through a pensive look back at his life on Dongshan Island in the Fujian Province, offering a cross section both of how his life has been shaped and how his hometown has changed–is changing–over time. The photos ranging from the tight and personal to the wide and common, Lanqing’s book draws a sensual line between the processes that shape us in small ways and the greater context shaping the processes, aided by the book’s nestled design, where pages enwrap other pages and going forward and backward in the book is akin to opening and closing layers and doors.