A Chrysler PT Cruiser sits alone in a parking lot on a cloudy, sunny day in downtown Culver City.
Culver City, California




The idea to shoot this book of street photography came to me while looking out of my window in Brooklyn.

It is an eye-opening experience to live, learn, and see a culture of new traditions. 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 to showcase my most favourite works from this series. This has been my journey seeing ‘the beauty within’.

One love,
Monique Lai

Two men in a blue tractor drive towards the hills in the Gansu Province.
'The Beauty Within' Exhibition Poster
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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.

I am on a double decker bus in Hong Kong. Viewing the city passing me by, I instinctively decided to shoot with my little point and shoot camera. These super quick random moments, not knowing what was ahead were precious lucky shots.

“Everything has beauty but not everybody sees it.”


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

ArcLight Culver City

9500 Culver Blvd., Culver City, California

Special Thanks

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


5 October – 13 December 2016

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.”

A Special
Thank You to My Sponsors!
ArcLight Cinemas
A&I Fine Art
Zetter Picture Framer
Digital Force


Framed Artwork & Prints
Playing in the waves in winter, (i-v).
Wearing a Rodebjer dress with a Linda Farrow sunglasses loosely hanging on top, artist Monique Lai laughs at a friends remark at her ArcLight Culver City photo exhibition.
Postcards from 'The Beauty Within' photo exhibition are placed on a table alongside ArcLight membership brochures.

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 I hope will find the right publisher.

‘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.

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