Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Double meanings and time travel

Jan 16, 2019 - Amy Li

Duality is a driving force in my work. I utilize light and shadow as a form of balance. Balance is important. The Chinese believe the universe is structured this way. Human nature is similar. We have our good side and our bad side. We never want to see the bad side but it lingers in all of us.

With thisĀ series, I travel back in time to my past by linking news events and commercial imagery. I found that watching and reading about certain news stories triggered me. It made me remember my past but all I want to do is forget. But I look and I travel through this space anyway.


A bright full moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, a Chinese holiday that celebrates the moon for its many significant cultural uses (example: the lunar calendar). A photo of a body of water reminds me of a near-death incident where I almost drowned and a water crisis. An postcard-like picture of the Pacific Coastline shows a barren landscape of Los Angeles. The boy with the gold necklace makes me think of an old friend who died tragically years ago while also resembling a jewelry advertisement. Pictures of psychedelics (a tab of acid, some mushrooms) to mimic product e-commerce imagery as well as a gateway to go into a different world. A fence reminds me of my childhood neighbors and immigration border control. Dead houseplant leaves and the seasons changing. Pieces of fruit remind me of food offerings left for the deceased at a Buddhist temple and as well as our appetites for consumption. Two anonymous figures selling a python snake and the snake quietly looks at you. The fourth wall as a handball court – a NYC sport I grew up knowing very well.

When I think about double meanings and time travel, my mind thinks of circles. Life and death. Light and shadow. Good and bad. Yin and yang.