Things we cherish most reflect out views of the world. When You Li shared with me her fondness of Camille Pissarro's paintings, I immediately connected it to her restrained personality. I can see how she would enjoy life in the snowfield and wilderness over in the secular society. She might even be able to hear piano music played by Eggleston when she took her photograph, I imagine. Of course, most of us do not have the opportunity to listen to Eggleston playing. But when looking at his work, we instantly detect the melodious quality which he reserved masterfully within his photographs. In such a manner, action transforms firstly into music adn eventually rests as soundless peace on photographic paper.
From You Li's work, I also catch the staccato from Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations, so clear and levitative that I felt as if I was floating in a transparent alien space, deprived of all restraints of nationality, culture and inidviduality. This particular sense of clearness is what makes You Li's photographs beyond time and awareness. It also enables the photographer to tell stories of the places she visited and people she encountered with from an open perspective - the same perspective as seen in the work of the the photography school which she inherited from.
What kinds of places are they, the ones that You Li photographed? Are they a synonym of loneliness, as suggested by Gould's music? You, alone, wander and roam the great northern field. Your mind is your sole accompany. From time to time, you encounter with strangers who hold their own confusions and secrets in silence, just as you do. Secrets. Yes. It's the secrets that make You Li and her subject matters equal. Hence the photographer adn the photographed are able to share their understanding of the northern loneliness silently under the frozen sky.
- Excerpt from Transparent Footprints by Yaji Huang