Adam Lampton earned his MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art + Design, Boston, MA, in 2004. A 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant Finalist, Lampton is a part-time faculty member at Emerson College in Boston and Stonehill College in Easton, MA. Lampton has shown extensively in national juried exhibitions and is also an active curator. Recently he was a finalist for the Center for Documentary Studies' prestigious Lange-Taylor Prize along with writer Jon Mooallem. Lampton is currently in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons.

Featured online are selections from his series taken while on a recent Fulbright grant in Macao, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and former Portuguese colony. His lush color photographs, a mix of landscapes and portraits, depict a territory in transition, marking especially the rise in the tourist gambling industry. 

  - Leslie K. Brown, PRC Curator

Click here for Lampton's Web site


Artist Statement

For 10 months during 2006-2007, while on a William J. Fulbright grant, I photographed the former Portuguese colony of Macao (now a Special Administrative Region of China) and witnessed a key moment in its transformation from a small enclave into a gambling Mecca.

My first few nights in Macao were filled with fitful sleep and strangely vivid dreams produced by a combination of jet-lag and sleeping pills. These visions were quickly replaced with the equally strange reality of a very small place with very big expectations.

Soon after the handover from Portuguese control to the People's Republic of China in 1999, the casino industry which, until then was monopolized by Hong Kong businessman Stanley Ho, was opened to foreign investment. Since then, Macao has been busily trying to place itself as the gaming and leisure destination for, not just China, but all of Asia. As of 2007 Macao had usurped the Las Vegas Strip as the most valuable piece of gambling real estate in the world. *

While technically autonomous, the Special Administrative Region is run only with the blessing of the Central Chinese Government. It is therefore odd to see the world's largest Communist government involve itself in something that is so unabashedly Capitalist. Gambling is the purest form of consumerism. There is no product per se- just the promise of money turned into more money. This sense of being many things at once—Western and Eastern; Communist and Capitalist; contemporary and historical—is integrated seamlessly and without self-consciousness into Macao's personality.

Walking down the street then becomes like moving through the illogical progression of a dream. The challenge is not to find examples of x and photograph them, but to be lost in the multitude of meanings and remain there. Beyond presenting Macao as a site of physical, cultural, and political change, these pictures attempt to navigate a territory of conflicting perceptions inherent in the movement from historical city to phantasmagorical dreamscape.

* “Macao Surpasses Las Vegas as Gambling Center," New York Times, January 23, 2007

- Adam Lampton

Click on each image for larger version and caption.








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