Tianran Qin

Born in Beijing, China in 1988, Tianran Qin started to learn photography during his undergrad study. After earned the bachelor’s degree of engineering in industrial design, Qin became a commercial photographer. In 2015, Qin went to the US and studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He received M.F.A. in photography in 2018.


The billboards that line our streets and highways are the visual representations of consumer culture. Their physical structure and ability to advertise products are more important than the specific items they promote. In this body of work, I transform billboards into bodies of light to enhance their existence and critique their significance in consumer culture.
Long-term exposures erase the information on the billboards and replace advertising with light. This releases billboards from their given function and endows them with a new definition: the icon of consumerism. The contrast between brightness and darkness sets off the billboards and mystifies them, providing a fresh perspective on these familiar objects. Meanwhile, as almost the only light source in the photograph, the billboard enlightens the bleak surroundings. This relationship between structure and nature becomes a metaphor for the tension of consumerism in our daily life. The holy look of the glaring rectangle overlaps with its commercial essence and becomes the monument people worship in contemporary society.

To view more of Tianran Qin’s work please visit his website.