The phrase “distance lends perspective” is an apt one for Bence Bakonyi‘s Cognition photographs; the people in his images, taken in the Chinese provinces of Dunhuang and Zhangye Danxia, appear like ants, their movements a procession in single file, or scurrying randomly in search of something. The scale of the landscapes dwarf the figures within, to the extent that the settings seem almost alien. When Bakonyi moves in closer, his images show how people, recognisable once more, interact with their environment with their physical selves or their man-made intrusions.
Bakonyi – a native of Budapest and a graduate of the city’s Maholy-Nagy University
of Art and Design – undertook a residency in China last year, and as well as the Cognition series, shot a more personal collection, Dignity. In these images the photographer himself is the subject of some existential philosophising, seemingly at the mercy of a black hole whose forceful gravity exerts a contorting pull on his figure. Both series, collectively titled The Presence, are being shown at Hong Kong galley Artify; the dates are 13 February to 20 March.