Amy Li is an American photographer and artist. She was born during the winter of 1988 in downtown Manhattan and was raised in Philadelphia. Her first love was drawing. She has a BFA degree in Photography from the University of the Arts. After completing her studies, she moved to New York to pursue freelance opportunities. In 2014, Amy was a part of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s 5th Annual Contemporary Photography Exhibition where Brian Clamp and the late Mary Ellen Mark juried the show. She currently lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York and is working on a long-term personal project set in Vancouver, BC.
My work investigates the dualities between death and memory and how they are situated in everyday scenarios, ranging from portraiture, landscapes and objects. These “situations” (as I like to call them) are completely devoid of nostalgia. Nostalgia implies that there is a personal narrative involved, along with a reference in time. My intent is to create photographs that are timeless and meaningful but without constructing a singular narrative. My interest in death and memory comes from spiritual and philosophical curiosities. As a concept, death is timeless. It is still and quiet. Death and memory are tangible and abstract universal notions to the human condition. Life and death are bound together by memory.
When someone dies, their life is remembered by those close to them; thus they “live on”. As time goes on, the memory will eventually fade away. A stranger won’t be able to see the deceased as a nostalgic figure because there is no personal history (memory) tied to them. I am very fascinated by that. This is the same way I view vernacular photography. When I see an old photograph of someone, whether it is a stranger or a deceased family member from generations ago, I’ll have no memory of them but I will acknowledge their existence because the photograph is the standing evidence. In that context, the photograph acts as a monument with no history.
To view more of Amy’s work, please visit her website.