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Conceptual Photo : Primitive vs Modern

In this serie, I invite the viewer to reflect upon our concepts of the world throughout the evolution of our species, to think about what pulls us backwards – the primitive in us - and what pulls us forward – the modern in us. Whether it’s about religion – the need to live in the shadows of a god or the terror of an existential life; about survival – the dual imperative of asserting our individuality and retreating into the safety of a group; about sexual drive – the need to celebrate its creative impulse and that of denying its basic instincts; or about death – the utter fear of it and the many ways of transcending it; I want to show man’s struggle to extricate himself from ages-old influences and to constantly redefine himself. It is an unending journey of self-discovery.  

In my photomontages, I start with an idea related to the general theme of Primitive vs Modern, select the images from my street photography inventory that develop the idea, and add extra layers of time and space to them by superimposing multiple images. Even though conceptual, the image must come from the real, thus street photos as a basis. Immediacy & candidness are preserved, but visual unity is disturbed and storytelling is abandoned. The end product is a re-composed image, more stimulating, more dynamic, serving a new and more expansive meaning, which goes way beyond the moment.

©2018, by Tran Dan, created with

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Death Bridge

On death - final extinction or a bridge to new life. I juxtapose a festival on the island of Cozumel, Mexico and skulls displayed at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.