Daniel Xin He photographs the lakes around his home in north Toronto, but rather than depict the impressive and familiar views of these quintessentially Canadian landscapes, he focuses on the minor and the intimate so that it’s often impossible to recognize the photographs’ location. In this manner he seeks to find things that remind him of his distant homeland. Eight years ago, He moved with his family to Canada in order to provide his daughter with academic opportunities and a better life. Since then he’s been examining notions of spatial identity and memory and exploring his sense of belonging through photography.
He uses a large format camera and the 19th century processes of collodion and tintype. He also brings a portable darkroom to his photoshoots and develops his photos on location. These traditional photography processes are slow and nostalgic, require precision and foster contemplation. At the same time, their results are rife with unexpected surprises that enhance the sense of adventure within the mundane. Through them, He reflects on the things he left behind when he came to Canada and what it means to him to be an immigrant. Photography thus allows him to process this experience, observe his surroundings and examine the meeting point between his past in China and his life today.
In collaboration with the Canadian Embassy
Daniel Xin He
Ya’ara Raz Haklai