Over the past year, Chloe Pang has been snapping away at all the absurdities that make Los Angeles – where she’s based – so wonderfully bonkers. Shot on her iPhone, the photographer’s Instagram is brimming with lo-fi, voyeuristic scenes of people often caught mid-motion picking their noses, taking selfies over a glamorous lunch, or performing rollerblade congos, all unbeknownst to Pang’s sneaky lens. Over time, she immortalised the photos into THE NEW NEWS: a sort-of forum that goes against the grain of one-sided television news sources like Fox and CNN.
“The idea was birthed out of sheer frustration with how crippled we have become,” the 29-year-old says. “Our media spheres are over-saturated with empty content produced by individuals who perpetuate indifference.” Tired of the click-bait nature of headlines, sensationalist rhetoric and a deep left-vs-right division across America, Pang hoped to cast her camera over the actual goings on of where she lives – rather than have these dictated for her by the very anchors that “perpetuate indifference”.
Pang sees many of her images as puzzles, decoding human behaviour one snapshot at a time. Often, she’ll post the images on her Instagram account and label them as poems with quippy captions, so viewers can feel something “rather than being manipulated through words”. But whether she thinks the images are political is a different matter. “Can’t art function as an invitation to connect, without being branded as ‘political’?,” she asks. For her, it’s all about a collective goal of peaceful co-existence.
“Through these microcosms of America, we can address the state of humanity with humility – this isn’t going to be a quick fix, but we most certainly have the potential to heal,” she adds, in a bid to steer away from the “formulated editorials that give us few opportunities to process our current circumstances”. Pang also plans on expanding The New News internationally, to hone in on human microcosms through a wider range.
With Pang’s direction, the world becomes human once again – and comfortingly relatable. It’s a feeling she understands many of us have missed over the past pandemic-ridden year. “The underlying theme of ‘seeking connection’ has only been fuelled by pandemic isolation,” she says. “If anything, the intention is to encourage people to look a bit closer through raw, intimate, unadulterated moments of being.”