Photographer Turns His Clutter Into Gigantic Collages

Yelena Melnichenko
Hong Hao
Hong Hao / Hong Hao

Rarely do we give second thought to the numerous insignificant objects that fill our lives. Beijing-based photographer Hong Hao, however, took it upon himself to reconsider and expand the role these seemingly unimportant items play in his most recent project, “My Things.”

For the past fourteen years on a daily basis, Hao digitally scanned every single object that passed through his fingertips. He saved each image individually until he collected a significant amount, and then he “weaved them together into labyrinthine digital collages.” He arranged them by size, type, shape, and color to form his various works.

Hao's pieces are all different. Some feature trinkets arranged in spirals, while others contain only books or papers in an organized chaos. Although it is an involved and laborious process, Hao maintained an emotional detachment from the items he featured, simply a part of a process. His intrigue, he claims, stemmed from the insatiable societal need to acquire more and more stuff. And so, his modern exhibit poses a salient question: How much do we really need?