ARTISTS >  Robert van der Hilst

Chinese Interiors

Communicating Through the Eyes, Feelings and Emotions

Text written by Robert van der Hilst

When I started working on my "Chinese interiors" photography project in June 2004, about a year after having finished my "Cuban Interiors" project, I believed that I could take the same approach in China as in Cuba.....photographing people inside their homes, meeting them, getting to know them, positioning them as, I, the photographer, saw them, inside their homes. And most importantly, speak with these people in their language and blend into their lives for a short period of time. It did not turn out like that at all in China. I do not speak the language and to a large extent I am ignorant of their culture. Soon after embarking on the project I realized that I would not be able to blend into these people’s lives as easily. Their reactions upon seeing a very tall man and his camera equipment at their doorstep made me realize that this was not going to work. I felt like an alien arriving at these people’s doorstep.