Sara Jane Boyers
Sara Jane Boyers is a doer and a seeker. Beyond her personal photographic projects, Sara is a driving force behind the Los Angeles League of Photographers and an active member of Editorial Photographers, plus Sara has curated three exhibitions about Los Angeles, and contributes as a photographer and writer to a variety of publications. For the last ten years, Sara has turned her focus to Chinatowns around the world.
In an almost decade-long project intensely focusing on the detail of the everyday, documenting the overlooked beauty of the seemingly mundane, I photograph in the Chinatowns of the United States and Canada to honor the almost two century long immigration of the Chinese here as their lives, history and culture weave together into the evolving American narrative that defines us all.
This project began when out amid the dark shadows and activity of a new day in San Francisco’s downtown Chinatown. The experience evoked intense childhood memories of another era: downtown mid-century Los Angeles where visits to my father’s photo labs were followed always by Chinatown exploration. The story expanded my sense of being a North American, highlighting a lesser known but significant American history. The images possess me, merging my art and my writer’s social sensibility.
Capturing beauty is not for the timid for it is provocative and demanding, requiring one to see it all while at the same time loosening emotion and retaining control. My search is for the iconic element of ordinary experience that defines the whole for, where the abstract portends great depth and complexity, therein lies a true catalogue of life. Thus I seek the aesthetic detail – those beautiful still moments in what is generally thought to be a frenetic environment – that leaves a memory unanswered with intent to re-explore; that inspires a curiosity of what remains. Not memento mori. Rather lives and change – past, present, future – as they exist to be seen and experienced today.
The project has evolved. At times considered an “outsider” – although rarely by the Chinese – I initially felt obliged to counter assumptions. No longer do I defend yet, first influenced by others, I pushed past my own perception and yes, I have a strong and extensive catalogue of work chronicling the traditional, suburban and historical Chinatowns (40+) that will comprise a traveling exhibition. However, my principal work is more poetic and it is here that I am most honest, both to myself and to this inspiring story.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
The 2019 Lange-Taylor Prize: Chinen Aimi: Finding RyukyuOctober 4th, 2019
Sunny Strader: 5th Grade DreamsOctober 1st, 2019
Marcia Resnick: Re-VisionsSeptember 19th, 2019
Hiroshi Watanabe: KWAIDAN: Stories and Studies of Strange ThingsSeptember 17th, 2019
Photographers on Photographers: Julia Vandenoever and Stephanie BurchettSeptember 2nd, 2019