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Show RCA 2019

Le Tian Zhou

Show RCA work

Major project:

I Reflect, You, You Me

I do not know when it started or why. All I know is that it did. Depression is like that; you simply cannot find a starting point and least imagine an end to it. The fear of not knowing the beginning and the end to this torment is what makes people feel truly hopeless and isolated.

For me, depression is a dormant monster hidden in the darkest shadows. It lurks and watches me silently, awaiting its prey – my negative emotions awaken. The monster is my constant companion, no matter how many times I fight it off, it never fails to return and haunt me. It becomes stronger every time.

As time goes by, the endless cycle of depression makes me dreadful with despair to the point of surrender. I just want to give up, simply stop fighting it and end my life. Depression is not as rare or as distant as people believe. At some point or another we are all tormented by the monster.

I believe that the unspeakable and the sense of loneliness that persists, even amongst your closest peers, is depression. I see depression as an emotion parallel to happiness and anger. However, contrary to other emotions, depression carries very detrimental connotations created by society that lead to self-repression and denying our right to face our true feelings.

We are all unique as individuals, reflections of each other as human beings. 'Depression' is commonly defined as a symptom of mental illness, but to me it means more than that. It is an emotion that comes as part of the human condition, it is quite simply in our nature. It is an emotion that interweaves with the seven emotions and six desires.

There is always the moment when you stare into the mirror and see yourself, yet we don’t recognise the image we see. There is a  distance between what we see and what is broiling under the apparent calm surface. In this project I wished to utilise mirrors to reflect those moments of disconnection between the mind and the seemingly calm surface. I aim to connect and relay such feelings to my audience through my work.

I decided to incorporate mirrors as an element rather than just the 'subject' in my photographs as a means to build a deeper and personal connection with the individuals viewing the installation. By making frame boxes with mirror materials and placing my work in the centre of these boxes, the idea is that the audience will see their own reflection while simultaneously seeing mine. The audience  becomes the last element that completes the work.


  • Le Tian Zhou was born in China and moved to Canada at a very young age, where she was exposed to a multicultural community. She is a mixed media fine artist inspired by the interplay between traditional photography and other art forms such as painting and print making. Her main interest in photography lies in its ability to recreate reality in its purest form and at the same time distort it completely.

    Just as life is made up of countless small routes leading to a final journey, each and every photograph she creates constitutes a part of her personal journey and reflects her mental state at that moment. Every photograph is a story, an occurrence with a deeper meaning than the mere image we see. Art drives her in life and has helped her find and redefine her purpose, not simply as an image-maker but as a person. Le Tian sees herself as an 'art piece' in progress that will thrive until her last breath.

  • Previous degrees

  • BA Photography and Imaging, ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 2016
  • Exhibitions

  • ArtCenter Student Gallery Exhibition, Pasadena, 2016; 'Exhibition', Emotive, Henry Duarte Gallery, LA, 2017
Royal College of Art