In the series Longevity, different symbols for longevity are explored from Chinese cultural beliefs that I grew up with. Many cultures share a desire for long life, and have drawn from traits of the natural world to represent this.
In this series, I photographed miniature models of popular symbols for longevity: the peach of immortality; the long-living crane, representing wisdom and acting as a vehicle for travelling to the heavens; the sacred fungus of immortality; the long-living deer, one of the only animals capable of seeking out the fungus of immortality; rocks; the long-growing pine that stays green over winter; the plum tree which is the first to bloom each spring, and the bamboo which also remains green over winter.
Symbols, like models, are constructions of human beliefs, but recognizing them as such doesn’t diminish their meaning or the desire for what those symbols represent. In parallel ways, awareness that a photograph is a representation of its subject at a moment in time never completely diminishes our initial perception of its realness, nor our desire to record and make things permanent.