Max Kristula-Green is a contemporary photographer born in Taiwan, raised in Tokyo, and now based in New York where he is a digital photo retoucher, teacher and freelance photographer. He is very versatile, he worked with very popular brand like Estée Lauder and he often uses the weekend to be digital free and strives to keep analog techniques alive, within the last years he has been perfecting a custom pinhole camera.
His photographic work is rich and complex enough to make hard to define his photographs with a single genre. Surely, it is influenced by his personal experience, places, people, and traits of his personal life.
Much of his work is rooted in nostalgia, keepsakes, and memory. I’ve found all these adjectives in the series New York City, black and white memories of iconic places in New York, as well as Coney Island where the man-altered landscape is surrounded by fog or it is hard to perceive due to the low light conditions, like when we try to remember something, but our brain lets emerge only few hints and not the whole memory.
Besides the New York shots, another series caught my attention. It is about China, more specifically about Tangjialing, a satellite village about 20 km north of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, but even more interesting is how Kristula-Green calls this place that is “Intellectual Slum”. Tangjialing, in fact, is mainly inhabited by migrant workers and post graduated intellectuals, people who are often forced to accept low-paying jobs unrelated to their degree, due to the tough job market in Beijing. The shots show a dichotomy: construction-deconstruction or old-new living side by side. This village, indeed, is going to be cut off, it is encircled by the Chinese Silicon Valley, where big corporations such as Lenovo have their offices and in order to make this “intellectual slum” more attractive, they are destroying the village, replacing the old with mega-block style housing designed to entice white-collar workers. The acute eye of Kristula-Green shows the undeniable Chinese urbanization and its consequences in people’s life.