It’s always a nice treat to come across some images that make you grin. Not in a “haha” way, but rather with the satisfaction that maybe you’ve figured something out. You’ve seen past the initial satire and have found the stabbing, subtle cultural commentary that the artist wants you to see. Los Angeles-based photographer Qingjian Meng’s series “Gold Rush” does just that. There is a certain sad whimsy in his carefully crafted images of 19th century characters posing thoughtfully amongst the glow of iPads and mini drones that leaves you smiling and searching for deeper meaning.
“By creating these 19th Century characters posing with 21st Century technology, the portraits create a dialogue between generations,” said Meng. “It shows the conflict between the two different eras.”
Meng's images look like the fine art concept photos of a “Back To the Future” sequel where Marty McFly accidentally leaves the Dolerean unlocked to be ransacked by the cast of Great Expectations, or maybe Wurthington Heights? You get it though. Funny and poignant.
“Through these portraits, I explore the relationships between economic factors and cultural values,” said Meng. “No matter what time or place we come from, the human spirit will always strive to create something new and the core of society’s economics will always remain the same while building on the foundation of our predecessors.”
Meng specializes in fashion and editorial portraiture. See more of his work or the rest of the "Gold Rush" series on his website.
All images used with permission of Qingjian Meng.