JiaHao Peng’s tender photographs document life’s fleeting moments – expect LA sunsets, beaches and lots of plants
The photographer captures unpredictable moments, scenes which reveal themselves as interesting or calming to him.
- Ruby Boddington
- 28 May 2021
There’s a tenderness to everything photographer JiaHao Peng shoots. Whether it’s two deer eating flowers, a heart etched into a tree by a fervent couple, his dad having a nap or the sunlight peaking through a gap in a cave, a tranquil beauty permeates the Los Angeles-based photographer’s work.
JiaHao was born and raised in Wenling in the Zhejiang Province of China and first starting taking photography seriously when he was 15. “I was really into photographing the flowers in the garden at my high school,” he explains, continuing that “I love plants so much and they’ve been giving me so much joy.” That love of nature is clear when looking through JiaHao’s portfolio as plants, flowers and natural landscape offer a thread connecting his often disparate images.
On why specifically photography drew him over any other creative medium, he explains that he’s compelled to freeze time; to capture and immortalise fleeting moments. While born from his love of nature and a want to document that which passes with the seasons, it also applies to the rest of the world and his relationships. “Photography can freeze a moment in a second. It’s raw, fresh, never ages, sharp, and often times breath taking. That’s something other media can not easily acquire,” he says, also remaking that “every fleeting moment is worth hundreds of shutters.”
To say there’s disparity in the scenes JiaHao depicts is by no means a criticism and, as it turns out, it’s a direct product of his meandering and open-minded creative process. Never setting out to capture a specific thing, instead, JiaHao is “more into capturing unpredictable images. Something I did not expect and it reveals as interesting and calming to me.” The result is a portfolio that documents his singular perspective as a photographer, the scenes that catch his eye and draw him in. Whatever that is though, “my works underscore all things tender, probing and fleeting in daily life. Not limited to plants, but all kinds of things,” he explains.
Most recently, JiaHao created a zine collating the digital photographs he took between March 2020 and March 2021. The book features mainly photography of JiaHao and his husband as they navigate the pandemic and made the move from Ohio to Los Angeles. Bearing all the hallmarks of JiaHao’s signature visual language, the publication reflects on what has been a “lonely and special year for everyone” by sharing his experience with others. When asked what else he’s been up to, JiaHao’s response of course relates to his love of plants. He built an Ikea terrarium which was featured on @ikeagreenhousecabinet and has also been collecting rare anthurium and philodendron. “I’m not sure if it’s a project, but I spent a lot of time and funds on it and I just switched to all semi-hydroponic,” he says. “It’s an exciting experiment, and it brings me so much serotonin!”
It’s safe to say that same joy radiates from JiaHao’s imagery and gives us the very same boost of serotonin. Having just started a new full-time job at a contemporary gallery, he’s been visiting the studios of “some cool local artists”, assisting with curation and much more. “I’m looking forward to seeing more and learn more via this gallery platform!” he concludes. Make sure you follow JiaHao on Instagram to keep up to date with his peaceful and tender work. Expect LA sunsets, beachscapes and botany – lots of it!
JiaHao Peng: Forest Lawn Cemetery (Copyright © JiaHao Peng, 2020)
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.