Journey Through the Lens: The Angie Irwin Retrospective
Art Installation

Selected forCGU MFA Installation Show 2023 in Gallery 224


Angie Irwin, an American photographer with a remarkable story, hails from a small town in South Carolina. Born into a modest family, she discovered her passion for photography using her father's old Brownie camera. She spent her childhood exploring the woods and streams of her hometown, capturing fleeting moments of nature and the simple life in the South. Her relentless creativity and curiosity marked her early education, leading her to excel in the arts.

In her youth, Angie was captivated by tales of distant lands and cultures. Her academic pursuits in photography and anthropology at a local college equipped her with the skills to document life through a lens. Her journey took an adventurous turn in the 1950s when she embarked on a voyage to China, driven by a desire to document the post-war era and the resilience of the human spirit.

Upon her arrival in China, Angie was fascinated by the rural landscapes and the everyday lives of the people. With her trusty roll film camera, she captured the essence of China's countryside, depicting the harmony and hardship of those times. During this period, she crossed paths with GePing Tang, my grandfather. Their shared love for storytelling through pictures forged a lifelong friendship.

Recognizing the importance of preserving history, Angie established a small studio. Her skills extended beyond photography; she was also a master of photo restoration. In an era where color film was susceptible to damage and decay, Angie's ability to restore moldy and damaged rolls of film into pristine photographs was nothing short of miraculous. Her studio became a sanctuary for photo restoration, serving as a beacon for those wishing to reclaim pieces of their past.

Thirty years ago, her techniques were considered avant-garde, and her studio gained a reputation as a small but formidable photo restoration enterprise. Today, at 82, Angie resides in Guangzhou, China. Despite the passage of time, she remains in close contact with my grandfather. Their lifelong friendship, built on mutual appreciation for the power of photography, continues to be a testament to their shared history and passion.

As the curator of this intimate exhibit, I have meticulously collected twenty of Angie Irwin's most influential works—pieces that resonate deeply with me. Each photograph has been selected for its aesthetic and historical value, as well as the personal narratives they encapsulate. Presented in their original negative film format, these images offer a raw and unaltered glimpse into the moments Angie captured many years ago.

The negatives, with their reversed hues, invite viewers to explore the artistry and technical prowess that Angie wielded with her camera. They also embody the bond between Angie and my grandfather, GePing Tang, reflecting the eras and landscapes they traversed together. This collection serves not only as a display of photographic excellence but also as a narrative thread connecting Angie's adventurous spirit to viewers' experiences and memories.

Individual Project
November 2023
Rachel Lachowicz
Film Photography + Interactive Installation + AI Art Installation
Mixed media 
12 x 22 x 10 ft.


01 Research
02 Development Process
03 Project Outcome