"I was raised on the taste of lawnmower fumes in the air and the dark gleam of perpetually circling crows. It was within the tyranny of this Lynchian landscape, dominated by intolerance and unexpected violence, where I became a reluctant witness to more crimes than I knew the names of by the time I was old enough to leave.
Words like rape, amphetamines, murder and extortion became a part of my vocabulary in a dialogue I was encouraged to keep only to myself. All of this set in a town that was built and marketed as a suburban utopia where the darkness was overlooked in favour of keeping the artificial paradise alive.
'A sunny place for shady people' became a term that began circulating through the Australian media when referring to the ongoing melodramas of criminals that ended up settling on the Gold Coast.
The city became known as a perfect strip of golden beach where one of ill-repute could reinvent themselves, where tales of execution style killings at the local mall were whispered behind pastel colored walls and porcelain veneered grins.
Once labelled as the tourist capital and now declared as the crime capital of Australia, this is a tale of a place that laid the flawed foundation of its character upon a mirage of tranquility. It is about the price of those swimming pools and sun drenched afternoons. It is about our perceptions of safety and danger within the architecture of our built environment. It is about real estate and the beautiful lie sold and bought here every day." (© Ying ANG)
"All is not as it seems… A Lynchian-style masterpiece about a childhood spent on the affluent and aspirational Gold Coast of Queensland, Ying ANG’s pictures suggesting a darker underbelly beyond the glitzy surf and high-rise facade of the brochures.
A brave book, which pulls no punches and does no favors for the Queensland tourist board, who will probably hope it disappears without trace. But it won’t, and any book that ends with a quote from the Log Lady gets my vote." (© Mark POWER's, in: Top 10 Best Books of 2014)
"Our favorite new photobook discovery — staged documentary tinged with a David Lynch uneasiness" (© Lensculture)
"Drenched in sunshine and suburbia, Ying ANG‘s 'Gold Coast' is brimming with images we come to expect from Australia. Despite its sweeping aesthetic, the series is drowning in darkness, an ominous truth lying in wait in the city’s quiet streets... Ang’s slightly shifted perspective allows the cracks to bleed through, exposing a surreal and unsettling world just beyond our view.” (© Feature Shoot)
"The chosen photographic language goes perfectly with what is the intent, which is to create empathy. Image after image, as in a movie, we identify ourselves with the places and characters. The scenes follow one another, rhythmically, creating a thin and constant tension, such as the blade of a knife, but without ever losing elegance." (© YET Magazine)
"It’s the only book I know where you have to go through it again immediately to make sense of what you’ve just seen; like playing out in your head a crime you’ve just witnessed. Your first inclination is to go back and attempt to piece together the parts. ANG’s filmic style and Lynchian influence is clear, but the genius of this book is the way we are lulled and manipulated, before our understanding is brutally and irrevocably changed." (© Daniel BOETKER-SMITH's, in: Top 10 Best Books of 2014)
"…through her photographs she questions our perception of safety and danger in our closest environment and examines what images connote with those two terms." (© THIS IS PAPER Magazine)
"...instead of pointing her camera directly at the wrongs and extortions, Ang chose to photograph the almost typical and mundane suburban scenes, what she calls the “icons of safety, success and prosperity,” which she believes are blinding the locals, preventing them from seeing the community’s ongoing crisis of drug-fueled crimes." (© TIME Lightbox)
"Ang doesn’t take us directly, à la Blue Velvet, under the manicured lawn to see the swarming, revolting bugs. Rather she lets the violence remain implicit, with reflections that disembody her subjects, and architecture that fosters their transgressions." (© CANVAS by Grolsch)
"Her photographs contain a concoction of the mundane and insinuate to the macabre, where on the surface the landscape is cosmetically shaped, hiding the crime that takes place, perpetuating the vacuous Utopian veneer... The portrait of the teenage couple in the car is static and lifeless. They’re trapped in a town quietly suffocating and all hope is lost. It is filled with insecurity and isolation and the slightly wound down window is just open enough for them to breathe...
Paradise has gone, the dream is dead. All that remains is her testament, the choking paranoia and the delusive ignorance desperately trying to preserve the empty promise that 'Gold Coast' once sold to you." (© Darwin Magazine)
Nominated for Prix Pictet 2015 - Finalist for Photobook Melbourne's Australian Photobook of the Year 2015 - Finalist for the CREATE Award 2015 - Finalist for the Guernsey Photography Festival Prize for 2015 - Winner of the New York Photo Festival book prize for 2014 - Winner of the Encontros Da Imagem book prize for 2014