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Photography (MA)

Yilin Shi

Born in 1995, Changzhou, China

2013-2017 BA Degree, School of Humanities, China Central Academy of Fine Art

2018-2020 MA Photography, Royal College of Art



fall into place

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Photography (MA)

Yilin Shi’s practice is mainly focusing on connections between individuals and surroundings. As a sensitive and detail-oriented photographer, she specializes in capturing specific moments with a surreal atmosphere out of daily banality as sort of escapism, and a process of self-healing as well. Meanwhile, light as a symbol of pure love for the world is always playing a strong and significant role throughout her practice all the way through. 

Her recent projects are about how she struggled to trace the root of and figure out the solutions to her long-term emotional sufferings.





Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. In the distant future, human beings as a little community with the common destiny will disappear finally. Once the fact is accepted does it mean that nothing at present matters? Or can we conclude that everything can be the essence of life?

Traces of Nothingness is a project focusing on the little moments and fragmentary details that are often neglected by people daily. Compared with magnificent scenes or strong emotions, what makes up most of life is just these fragments which from my perspective are also proof of human existence in the universe. By presenting everyday things in a slightly strange way, this project hopes that people can re-examine their surroundings in a new position, think about the nature of current life and the ultimate fate of human beings, and the connection between them.


Archival Ink Print


ColourDetailsEmotionalflashlightFragmentMomentnothingnessPhotographyStill LifeSurrealismtracevegetation










A sequela is a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma.

I was looking for the motivation and intuition of my photographing these objects rather than others, finding that it’s the late effects from my last intimate relationship – the feeling of not being loved or cherished and the experience of being trampled or wasted – that drove me cautious, sensitive and skeptical much more than ever, and even couldn’t evaluate myself objectively properly.

William Eggleston said in 《The Democratic Forest》that every single thing in front of the lens was equal. What had resonated with me were just those little things that were not impressive and might be easily ignored by human beings. Meanwhile, the use of transience created a new look of daily fragments, re-established the order, and challenged the criteria of mortal life.


Archival Ink Print


Size varies: 60cmx90cm*2, 40cmx60cm*2, 28cmx42cm*2, 30cmx20cm*2







Ever since I was very young, I have loved plants. After being diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety, I tended to be more socially withdrawn and preferred staying in the natural environment.

When I returned home this time, I suddenly realized that it was my family's love for plants that had influenced me since I was a child. I was accustomed to anthropomorphizing plants to communicate with them. For Swiss photographer Samuel Zeller, the greenhouse helped activate his senses and release stress, resulting in his Botanical series images. Like him, where natural plants grow is my secret comfort zone.

This discovery was quite a breakthrough, helping me understand why I always visited various botanical gardens. I also sorted out a large number of vegetation images I took and surprisingly found my love for them was rather crazy.

At the same time, I am fascinated to see how plants grow in man-made constructions. The counterbalance and symbiosis between natural forces and human power show me the process of how they shape each other.

After all, the present state of every single thing is just the result of all the different forces. Although for me it is a spiritual home built to escape from human interaction, this project reveals the inevitability of social attributes and interpersonal relationships for a person. The subjects seem to be plants, but they are actually a metaphor for human beings in society.


Archival Ink Print



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