Noelle K. Tan

Noelle K. Tan

Noelle K.


NorthEast Region of USA
Noelle K. Tan
At first glance, Noelle K. Tan’s photographs might appear as if something has gone awry within the process; the images appear either blown out or severely underexposed. But that isn’t the case. Still working with monochrome film in a traditional darkroom, Tan explores these tonal extremes to facilitate a discourse on sight and understanding. Tan began her work in pushing the boundaries of sight with her “black” series, in which she traveled to dark environments in an attempt to capture the minimum amount of light needed to make an image. While initially these images seem difficult to read, with close looking they reveal themselves to the viewer. Tan considers these works “environments without subject.” For her subsequent “white” series, Tan created the inverse experience with overexposed images of “subjects without environment.” Without providing information about location or reason, the stories in both series are open to personal interpretation and piecing together, much like a memory.


I like to obfuscate. I like things to be almost generic, like common experience, so that when people look at it, somewhere in the back of their head they think, ‘I’ve seen that,’ or ‘I’ve been there,’ or ‘I know what that is.’

— Noelle K. Tan