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Raw and honest family pictures of a family

SNAPSHOTS of a family at their best, their worst and their funniest are unflinchingly taken by Tatjana Loh who describes her family as a "circus."

Loh, a Southern California photographer, documents her family in 20 gelatin silver prints in an exhibit at Beaugeste Gallery through September 17 in Shanghai.

Loh, whose father is Chinese and whose mother is German, titled the exhibition "Family Circus" at an earlier exhibition. This time the curator Jean Loh (no relation) titled it "My Cousin from America," referring humorously to Tatjana Loh.

Loh's father grew up around Shanghai and moved to the United States where he earned advanced degrees from top universities and at first was very successful. He and Tatjana's mother later divorced.

"...being a part of this family and running after them to photograph them, is like being in a circus," said Tatjana Loh.

The exhibition features portraitures of her peculiar family in their daily lives, in bitter moments, harsh moments, and sometimes, simply ridiculous moments.

From a photo of two innocent, naive girls to a picture of a frail, half-naked old man hanging upside down on playground monkey bars, Tatjana's photo journal is hardly conventional photo art.

There are no set pretty pictures. Loh prefers to document common, everyday activities like having dinner, going to the doctor, playing, riding on a bus, or taking a nap.

"These are the activities of everyday life, not celebrations or events.?I want to remember and hold on to these moments...not only the happy times, but the sad, quiet, ridiculous, tense moments as well," she said in an interview.

Her raw, honest snapshots offer her viewers a reflection into their own lives.

Pictures of her father, stubbornly resisting old age in his half-torn swimming trunks, may remind us of our own obstinate, yet endearing parents that frustrate our childhoods. Images of the hands of a caring parent washing the hair of a playful child may evoke memories of loving children; a group photo of her sleeping family mirrors our own lazy summer days spent with loved ones.

Curator Loh observed: "In the end, our existential anguish finds solace in the innocence and tenderness of childhood, delicately and magnificently displayed through the 'almost candid' camera work of Tatjana in the profusion of Southern Californian light; we are left bathing in a refreshing and cathartic exposure."

Date: through September 17,

Address: Space 519, Bldg 5, 210 Taikang Rd

Tel: 6466-9012


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