“I see a little bit of myself in the women I photograph, and them in me”: Annie Lai on capturing “in betweenness”

Having grown up across multiple continents and contrasting cultures, the London-based photographer contemplates the idea of home at November’s Nicer Tuesdays.

9 December 2021


The idea of home can mean many different things depending on the individual person and where they grew up. For Annie Lai, the concept has always been difficult. With this in mind, the photographer decided to embark on a personal project, through which she could explore the idea, taking photos of fellow women from the Chinese diaspora who find themselves somewhere between UK citizens and fleeting visitors. The project, titled In Between, was the subject of Annie’s Nicer Tuesdays talk in November. In a highly moving and personal tale, she talked us through her upbringing in New Zealand and China and how that feeling of “in betweenness” first rooted.

“I hope that if I caught images through my camera, they would last longer than in my memories,” she said, speaking about how In Between first came about. After that, she explained how she started reaching out to other people experiencing similar issues and questions. Capturing glimpses of their transitional lives – rented accommodation, temporary furnishings and so on – the work documents small fragments of life that intersect with each other. This evocative Nicer Tuesdays talk, touching on themes of identity and belonging, is a much-watch. It reveals the ins and outs of a thoughtful artist’s work and also digs into the process of making a highly personal project.

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Nicer Tuesdays Online is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.

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