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Shameful Intimacy

Xiangyu Dong

-A Visual Discussion of Intimate Relationship

Shameful Intimacy​ is a project which focuses on the private moments in a relationship. I question the patriarchalism and conservativity of a relationship in the cultural context of East Asian Society. Under a romantic and metaphorical visual style, the boundary of private space and public is broken by the camera. Nudity, dominance and loneliness are being gazed by viewers.

Compared to the West, the display of intimacy is regarded as inappropriate and taboo in traditional Chinese culture. In this project, I photograph a couple in a series of intimate moments. A man showing vulnerable, and even feminine, aspects of his personality is regarded as shameful in conservative Chinese society. This work exposes and critiques gender stereotypes, allowing Shameful Intimacy to combine my own experience and a broader experience of gender and sexuality in China.

-About the Artist

As a photographer who grew up in China, Xiangyu has an unique understanding of Chinese society and culture. Thus, the ideas of most of his work are from the observation of current social issues and culture phenomena of China. His work especially focuses on the life of Chinese young generation and how they define and explore their identity.


I would like to thank the following people who have helped me finish this project:

Zhaohui Xing, Jiashuo Du, Siliang Ma, Michael Trigilio, Ava Hermine Porter, Xujing Feng, Haina Wang and Yijun Zhao.