The boyfriend’s parents can’t accept her age after all, and their relationship ended there. That’s how Chinese photographer Yingguang Guo (b. 1983) became single at the age of 33, a “left-over woman”, considered by the eyes of contemporary Chinese society. Burdened by all of the questions she could not find answers to, Guo went to the People’s Park in Shanghai to perform as her own “matchmaker”, holding a sign with her own accomplishments, while the parents come sniffing around to assess her suitability for their children.
In addition to being a place of relaxation, Shanghai People’s Park is also a well-known market for matchmaking that has been in existence for ten years. Hundreds of parents gather there every weekend regardless of weather, clutching succinct summaries of their children on single information sheets that contain their age, height, education, job, salary etc. all in an effort to find an “acceptable” partner for their child to marry.
By photographing daily scenes and details of personal adds at the matchmaking corner, Guo also uses photo-etching techniques to create a series of abstract images that reveal the turbulent truths of arranged marriages beneath the seemingly calm surface depicted by peaceful images of the park, such as traditional intergenerational relationships and views of marriage, as well as discrimination against the so-called “left-over women”.