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My Artist Statement

While out making photographs, I spend a great deal of time trying to see things in a less literal way. I use this time to take all the variables and elements into consideration, and enter my practice from a sociological or anthropological perspective. My camera serves as a mirror, that demonstrates how the democratic nature of photography can be a vehicle for diverse perspectives to visualize social problems, spark dialogue, and transform assumptions. I have benefited from commercial photography practice, and gained a range of techniques, including in-camera processes such as polarization and graduated filters, shift, and tilt lenses, and in-computer techniques such as high dynamic range, exposure blending, and focus stacking, to produce images. When I try to understand photography as a way of expression, my understanding of the concept of photography transfers from the image itself to the level of language. I tend to work on several bodies of work at the same time, such as techniques, tools, themes, and aesthetics. I hope to explore the metaphors and relevance of photography in addition to the plane meaning.

My photographs are meant to be read and analyzed. Symbolism is abundant in them, for what makes an intricate story if not visuals that mean one thing but stand for another?  In my creation, I combine life experience and visual research methods to explore the hidden meaning of images. I want my imagery to move beyond the realm of photography and instead mimic paintings and alternate styles of art. It is more like another form of language, providing a realistic measurement and explanation of the complex social life.


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Hanging in the night like a ghost

Hanging in the night like a ghost

The younger generation of students walks alone after school in the middle of the night. Anxious, depressive, evasive, and uncertain states have become the inherent characteristics of their spirituality. This daily scene is like a national fable mentioned by Fredric Jameson, “the great country and lonely ghosts.”


Inspired by archival photography, I expect to extend photography technology to a research method, from establishing my information collection to exploring China’s education system, peer pressure, academic stress, and individual spirituality. By remaking the ghost image that existed in the history of photography, I intend to emphasize the position of “ghost” in modern society.


In this project, I walked around a surrounding high school, and recorded a large number of publicity propaganda slogans, awaiting parents, walking students, residential buildings. I attempt to build a mysterious narrative among these clues. In my opinion, the concept of ghosts has been integrated with modern life. Invisible pressure has become a product of social culture. I hope to transform this intangible power into a concrete object or image, that explores the nature of pressure and the development of education.


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Shape in motion

Shape in motion

Circle is a flat figure complies with abstract and closed appearance that covering radius and diameter.

The ancients first explored the circle concept from the sun and the moon on the fifteenth lunar calendar. Hence a circle contains two types including external form layer and abstract form in terms of ancient Chinese aesthetics. While it is composed of curves and 360° in shape in terms of forms, accompanying smooth, rounded and peaceful characteristics.

The ancient Chinese have connected the circle with the sky. The “circle” and even the metal-shaped implements and patterns are regarded as the symbol of the heaven and the gods, which carrying with a rich universal experience, at the same time, the concept of “the round heaven” is deeply rooted in public subconsciousness.

The progress of industrial civilization has driven the infinite development of manufacturing industry in modern times. After the second industrial revolution, traditional handicraft industry has been replaced by mechanization, and a large number of tools have been created, while the functional significance of round “tires” has been multiple endowed.

I have imagined the material and landscape into regular and irregular shapes through the environmental perception in my works, then tried to create and change their original kinetic habits through photographic records. Only in this way the relationship between static and dynamic is presented in the arbitrary space, which is filled with infinite confrontation.


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Covert Relationship

Covert Relationship

Any human cannot exist in the isolation from society, and the whole society is just like a giant social sculpture, in which each of us lives, and has its own unique function.

 And the senior citizens, as a wildly interesting part in the big environment, have their own distinct rhythm of life and performance in the city. I’m shuttling back and forth in the city to seek for this wonderful relationship, as if I were searching for something, but still got no answer. 

When the people shake themselves out of ideological shackles holding back them, and get active, life seems to be more of a stage that can be seen everywhere.


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Natural soul

Project title:Natural soul


Dimensions:420mmx594mm Photograph*2、1500mm high Spray-paint

Project statement:This series of work use the creative methods commonly used by artists that artificially intervene in the final effect. The artist Tongbo Dong sampled different plants in the same season, through the intervention of external physical means, the photography presents the firm state and slow thinking of the plants. As a derivative exploration of street photography, the artist mixed spray paint, commercial logos, plastic eye patches, and unfinished print forms to confuse people’s viewing experience. Aesthetically, the two colors are contrasting, showing a strong visual impact. The spray paint in the picture is like a creature active in nature, symbiotic with the original nature, giving them eyes. People are invited to watch the spray paint traces, just like the biological reaction on the surface of a plant, and they can even have an eye-contact with the photo. Tongbo intends to create a multi-layered photo that covers information from different sources and promote a new aesthetic narrative.


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About me

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A reflection and sampling of monuments, in other words, banners, in the city.

A reflection and sampling of monuments, in other words, banners, in the city.

All these photos were taken by me in Nanjing, China last year.


Photoed by ToNgbO  in 2021, China,


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Tongbo Dong’s New Statement

I am a contemporary photographer and performance artist who combines many forms of expression. When I go out to take photographs I spend a lot of time trying to see things in a less direct way. I have seven years of experience as a commercial photographer and film director, but I decided to move away from the commercial style of photography. I used this time away to consider all the variables and elements of my practise from a sociological or anthropological perspective. Like a mirror, my camera demonstrates how the democratic nature of photography can be used to visualise social issues, provoke dialogue and shift assumptions. My photographs are meant to be read and evaluated; they are full of symbolic meaning. If visual elements suggest one thing but represent another, what constitutes a complex story? In my work I combine lived experience with visual research methods to explore the hidden meanings of images; I want my images to not only transcend the boundaries of photography but also emulate painting and different types of art by experimenting with digital techniques such as 3D scanning, collage and 3D printing. I also enrich my artworks beyond photography by practising laser cutting to sculpt on various materials. My approach is more akin to another language as it provides a realistic measure and explanation of the complexity of social life. In my future practice, I will not only go beyond photography but also produce multimedia integrated art assembled into installations that will take my research direction deeper into anthropology and sociology. I will discuss in greater depth the relationships between people in society and explore the impact of politics on human development, all of which will be reflected in my work.


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The follow-up development of body language


Try using foil stamping to create a hand with a gold negative hand. Simplify the image of the hand.


Next, I used the 3d scanning software on the iPad pro to test the model’s hands in 3D. After adjusting the standing position and lighting several times, the test failed due to poor scanning accuracy.


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A New Kind Of Color Film testing

I photographed and scanned and tested a colour negative film that would change the colour of the subject itself. New inspiration and ideas for future shoots were provided. Different such films can be used to create a world of different visual effects.

After practising developing colour negatives C-41 and D-11 black and white negatives during this semester, I have mastered and started to experiment with my own processing methods.


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About Making The Trouble Bags

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3D Scanning Software Testing

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Reflections on the dimension of time in photographic practice

As I finished taking so many photos, I was thinking. Is photography a way in which we are slicing the real world in time in a fourth dimensional way, or is it memory sampling? If each work is a three-dimensional transformed into a two-dimensional slice of time in the fourth dimension, what does time become when we put so many slices together?


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