123 Polaroids is not simply a selection of 123 images from 223’s extensive and fabulous collection of Polaroid work, on which he embarked in the early 2000s from his hometown of Guangzhou, China. It is a deep dive into his intimate memories of dear ones, his inexpensive Polaroid films and his travels across China, Tibet, South East Asia, Japan and Europe. It is a panoply of his love, fashionable nudity, of expressive glaring portraits, of colorful landscapes and people, of embracing bodies in playful melancholy, of eroticism, of a sense of absence and untold more, all fashioned by the touch of the stunning imperfections of this medium and the master’s talent.
223 once told me that labeling or selecting 1, 2 or 3 of his photographs as the best ones would be extremely difficult because each one speaks about a memory, an intimate moment from a period in his life. To those words, I add that the beauty of a photograph is not just the image, with its composition, colors, albedo, and perfection or simplicity –– it is also an entanglement of actual memories, and of the sensations the image can ignite. In that light, 123 Polaroids conveys the intent and breadth of a poet, uniquely giving voice to the intercourse of 223’s intimate souvenirs, ignited sensations and 123 Polaroids.
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