Photo Series Is a Blast From the Past and the Present

Photo Series Is a Blast From the Past and the Present

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.

Log in or register to post comments

5 Comments

Sergio Tello's picture

Awesome! Can't pick a favorite.

Joost van Baars's picture

More effective for what?

I think these are great in concept and execution.
But I'm looking forward to see your work and be completely awed Pete.

They look like attractive, modern models wearing period costumes who forgot to put away their toys or take off their watch. Nice modern studio lighting, though...

I guess my point is that the photographer intended to make the photos look anachronistic, but in my opinion, just look silly...