Chou Ching Hui's Animal Farm project features nine works that manifest the intangible frames in society that guide our every step. The images urge the viewers to re-examine their situation, to become conscious of their constraints, and to ruminate on the possibilities of struggling free.
Chou negotiated to use Hsinchu Zoo and Shoshan Zoo in Kaohsiung as the sets of his Animal Farm photography project. Shooting in a real zoo, Chou uses the cages as an allusion to modern people’s lives. “The society is as a cage, where we are jeering at the people living in there” says Chou.
Chou deliberately chose the twilight moment to shoot his works. In his opinion, the moment when light and colors blurred as well as when day transitioned into night was the perfect temporal equivalent for delineating the overlapping condition of the overt and covert tendencies in human psyche. In Animal Farm, Chou employs movie production resources: staged sets, lighting design, character styling and props.
Chou’s photographs were all shot with 8x10 format color on film and is a unique approach to staged photography. It took the photographer and his crew of over 60 people 5 years time to create this astonishing collection. In this series, the photographer transformed his role from “hunter” to “director”.
Through saturated colors, he was able to present a visual quality that surpassed ordinary vision. Combined with surrealistic scenes and atmosphere, he guided the viewer to gradually inspect all the elements and details in the images, searching for clues for interpreting these mysterious pictures to connect or resonate with their personal experiences.