“Dreams in Dreamland” provides an unorthodox view on an urban landscape. Depicting the surreal and dreamy mood of being a bystander, observing the world in slow motion. Like a Lemarchand* box revealing alternative planes of existence throughout a puzzle, my inhibitions and imagination unfold before me. Shy by nature, the hidden layers of self are slowly peeled away.


Each image is a reflection of what drives me, on inner and outer levels. Senses are stimulated by what the eye sees and my childish interpretation of an urban world that I wish others to experience. The rekindling of an earlier life, excluded in a world of transitory shelters.


The viewer is confronted with a multitude of colour images in motion. Visions that could be unreal, but captured in real time with slow exposures. Slowing down time, be drawn into partaking of the dream. Creating an automatic process of reading and collecting information, but not necessarily absorbing or digesting it. The subliminal self is questioned.


The photographs capture the moment within vibrant colours. Faced with images, the senses are awakened when logic is melded with thoughts and emotions. The act of interpretation becomes a visual feast for the eye. A search for understanding. The two subconscious reactions interact like the marriage of an odd couple in symbiosis.


It is my belief that we all have an inherent drive for creativity. Be it in the physical act of creation or as a participant in the process. Perhaps it is the need to soften the mundane which arouses the artistic juices? A genesis of exploration to the beyond limits of immaculate conception. The act of creation is a healing process. Catharsis. The catalyst to a revelation.


The first thing to strike the viewer is the absence of conventional sharp images. Deliberately out of focus, blurry scenes dominate. Drawing my inspiration from the use of available light, the surrounding ambience is kept. Capturing what, the eye, the mind and I see. Instead of using the subject to determine the space, space was used to frame the subject.


I could spend hours walking on the streets knowing that at some point, “it” will reveal itself. Akin to chemicals charging the adrenaline, I enter into an intimate encounter with the subject. A change of state. Regular consciousness to creative awareness. Drawn in, I am invigorated by the scene I photograph.


Photography becomes me. Naturally. I eat, sleep and breathe it. To put it simply - it is my other sense. By way of a camera, emotional contents are recorded.


Like a gift wrapped in a box, each image awaits to be opened. By those who wish to contemplate its mysteries. Mental agility is a pre-requisite to disengage the mind from ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’ perception.


At first thought, these images may seem unrelated to documentary photography. However, on closer examination, there is a hint of reality. Provoking the mind to second guess the original scene. Trancelike, the mind is transposed to that space in time which we call a moment.


The photographs were collected in Asia, where street scenes were my colour palette. The challenge - interpreting "photography", literary - to paint with light. I have deliberately shot everything devoid of any familiarity one could stereotype Asian cities with. By subtracting the obvious, what is left is the concept of mixing colour and space, with the help of imagination.



*A Lemarchand box is a mystical/mechanical device that acts as a door — or a key to a door — to another dimension or plane of existence. The solution of the puzzle creates a "Schism" or open pathway towards another realm through which beings may travel in either direction.

Copyright Michael Chia 2013