For the first few days after I arrived in New York from Taipei, I was in an almost hallucinatory state—the combined effect of jet lag and unfamiliarity with a city for which I had always had a long-distance affection. I was overwhelmed by all the sights I knew only from movies, TV, and photographs. Like all city dwellers, though, after a period of time I started to get used to this visual density and its countless moving parts. Vehicles racing down the avenues and pedestrians rushing across intersections began to fade away as I walked the streets. What remained was the solid, unmoving mass of buildings, streets, and sidewalks.
I decided to capture this sensation photographically by using long exposures after dark. This would make people, cars, trucks, and buses fade into a blur or even disappear completely, creating trails of light in their wake. To insure that the images would be as vivid as they were in my mind, I used the High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging technique, which allowed me to maintain tonality, detail, and color in areas that a single exposure would not permit.
I soon realized that the images I was creating were more than just personal impressions. They seemed to represent the transience of urban life against the permanence of the city's infrastructure—the way the city’s people disconnect from their environment, whether simply to get their business done or, on a deeper level, to maintain their sanity in the face of constant, overpowering stimuli. For me, the images also created an intersection between my own state of mind and the brave new world of New York. By the same token, my year of graduate study in photography in this great city has been an important intersection—a turning point—in my personal life. The experience has been intense and vivid, just like these images.