Due to an unexpected change of plans (and change of heart), I find myself staying put this holiday season. Perhaps that would explain why I’m feeling particularly wistful at the thought of airports these days. While the age-old glamor of boarding a plane and jetting off to a place with balmy weather and swaying palm trees has long been lost – what with the ever-heightening security measures being imposed on passengers as of late – that post check-in experience of enjoying my machine-dispensed coffee at the waiting area continues to evoke happy memories for this global nomad, even when it means being allocated an aisle seat next to five screaming brats on a long-haul flight.
I discovered a kindred spirit in Malaysian-born and Australian-bred photojournalist Tammy Law when I first stumbled upon her work a few years back. Drawing upon the paintings of Edward Hopper and the photography of Lynne Cohen for inspiration, Law has a tendency of diverting one’s attentions back to environments that might come across as generic or entirely dismissive in the first place. This series of photographs, in their subtlety, depict the airport as a setting for the unexpected, a blank slate waiting to be filled.
For me, Law‘s airport images quietly expose the metaphysical layer of spaces that have purposefully been designed to reflect practicality and homogeneity upon first glance. (Strangely, wherever one lands, these are automatically the kind of qualities that have become most indicative of an airport’s projected essence of ‘internationalism’ as well as its designated sense of reliability.)
The pervading element of emptiness come across as the strongest part of these photographs. One can really sense the heavy, underlying tension that is being emphasized as the systematic sterility of these areas become suddenly tainted with the emotional air of the fleeting human presence.
(All images courtesy of Tammy Law)