Under normal circumstance I stay away fromcreate an illusion, give her the tools to develop a storyline in the same way a dreamscape does; the imaginary world strangely familiar while the narrative arc takes us on a hyper-visual ride through our sub-consciousness. It’s this balance between the real and the surreal that pulls us into Tong’s world and in these photographs, of women and a child around a pool, she gives us a specific scenario while being utterly opaque. We know nothing of these characters, they swim, paddle, dive, hang out, yet do not connect. They are very much alone. Within themselves. Lost in thought.
This conceptual conceit, along with the application of light and colour, create an initial impression of paradise, a holiday, a tourist retreat, yet the longer we look the more we become unsettled. Something is askew. Wrong. The harmony we experienced on first sight washed away by a sense that these people are trapped in a prison of their own making. And while we are entranced by Tong’s beautiful photographs we are inherently aware of the emotional intent of each image.
- By Moray Mair