2019 was a weird year. I was 24 that year, which marked my second twelve year cycle in this place. Writing this now, I suddenly remember when I was 12, my family and I were visiting a water reserve in Beijing, and how I was looking at an artifact sitting in its glass container, dreaming about the next time my 本命年 (běn mìng nián) would come around. I would be such an adult, I thought.
Everyone says your zodiac year is suppose to be unlucky, and that's why people wear red accessories for the whole year - to ward off the bad luck. In fact, I had not only one, but two red bracelets. Yet 2019 started out great, I had gotten in to the school I wanted to go to, I was living in my favorite neighborhood in Shanghai with a nice turquoise sofa and two great flatmates. We developed an intense and continuous joy for claw machines, tuesday wing nights, just dance, and at one point fostered the greatest dog in the world (his name is Rusty). As a person who grew up in an inland city, I found the idea of a ferry as transportation incredibly fascinating, and took it across the Huangpu river to work every chance I had. Shanghai is a city of mopeds, and the scene of waiting for the hoard of mopeds to rush off the ferry before I (and my own hoard of mopeds) was let on board always felt quite cinematic, it was sort of like the build up to a fight scene. If you are ever in Shanghai, I highly recommend this experience.
2019 was also the year of imminent goodbyes, where most of my friends and I had plans to leave the city that had bound us so closely together. One evening, on my way home from work, when the setting sun light was extremely soft on Century Avenue, I wished that I could be locked into this moment of content forever, before the goodbyes had to start and we all had to get on with the next chapter of our lives.
In terms of photography, 2019 was much in alignment with 2018. I traveled as much as I could around Asia, knowing that I would not be coming back to the region for quite a bit (although I could not forsee just exactly how long). The first three quarters of 2019 were filled with warm and beautiful moments, and that's what's shown here.
But 2019 was also the year I moved to London.