When I Passed by Your Town

Intimacy: that would be the word it all comes down to. ‘When I Passed By Your Town’ was inspired by the interaction with strangers in my daily life; it serves as an exploration of human nature. People have conventionally thought that we only get to know someone when we have been around them for a long time, but I believe that the first contact between people is the purest and most innocent interaction. What if we don’t try to get to know someone, don’t try to know more about a place?

There are many ways we can explore an unknown location and connect with local people there – our choice determines our roles within the space. On my trip to India, I chose to be a stranger. The following series of photographs narrates a journey of passing by; they illustrate a response to the simple greeting, “how are you?” Every frame offers a glimpse into another’s life. When I passed by your town, I knocked gently on the door and took a look inside – yet I wouldn’t stay long. I’m a stranger to you as you are to me. I aim to elevate the moment of the first glimpse, but only briefly. People tend to linger, perhaps hoping someday to come back to this place. Some people do, over and over again. But their feelings will never be as pure as they first were. This intimacy, the first moment of contact, captures the most urgent and timeless stories of a place, and its people.”

words & photography – shawn tang 
location – new york city, usa