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Street Photography


Art Series
The Beauty Within

ArcLight Culver City
9500 Culver Blvd., Culver City, California

5 October – 13 December 2016

Paul Tam, Digital Force
Gordon Cheung, Zetter Picture Framer
Installation Designer Sharon While
Graphic Designer Joe Wong

Special Thanks
Kale Hills, Khodr Cherri, A&I Fine Art + Photography

street photography

The Beauty Within Poster for ArcLight Culver City

It is an eye-opening experience to live, to learn, and to see a culture with traditions. The idea to shoot this book of street photography came to me while looking out of my window in Brooklyn. I was imagining the other side of the world and it dawned on me I was ready to travel. What is different in this approach is someone or some event will lead me to the image. Nothing was ever planned by me. Photographed while in a moving vehicle, and at waist-level, this is my visual diary and these are the images that came my way. I am incredibly grateful to return to the ArcLight and showcase my favourite works from this series. This is my journey seeing ‘the beauty within’.

One love,
Monique Lai

ArcLight Culver City


Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that ‘life is a journey, not a destination’ and that has never been more clear to me than when I jumped into the unknown several years ago; leaving behind ‘my normal’ for a new one. The camera has been my constant companion bringing me the visions I needed to see and to experience. Documenting this journey and meeting people along the way has inspired and validated my love for culture and for architecture. This is my blueprint that I have titled, Freeze Frame: the beauty within.

Looking out the window on a double decker bus in Hong Kong, I decided to instinctly shoot the scene ahead with my little point and shoot camera I had with me. These random moments were precious lucky shots. “Everything has beauty but not everybody sees it.”– Confucius

This street-style photography series has been a passion project of my travels over the years.  One of my favourite quotes by Marcel Proust:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Framed Artwork & Prints

A technique I practiced in this series was to shoot holding the camera at waist-level without looking through the viewfinder.  This means I never know if I have the shot until I view my images.

Artillery Magazine

LA Weekly

I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to showcase this body of work of my travels in Asia. It is a book that I hope will find the right publisher who sees what I see. ‘The Beauty Within’ showcases my love for architecture and construction.  Each city or village I have visited, people everywhere live and enjoy the simple things that all begin with design.

Culver City