If you look closely, you’ll notice a pretty key element is missing from these photographs! China-born photographer Zhao Huasen created this fun collection of images where bicyclists are floating along city streets, pedaling and steering invisible bicycles. For the project, entitled Floating, the artist captured hundreds of cyclists going about their every day lives and he then digitally removed the bicycles from the images. The bicycle seats, position of the riders, and the shadows on the streets remain intact, allowing viewers to easily fill in the gaps and understand the story.
The playful photographs add humor to an otherwise mundane scene. Huasen is also challenging what it means to “see” in the photographs. As viewers, our natural visual reaction is to immediately fill in the gaps so that there is no question about what is happening in the photographs. The actions in the scenes can be defined with or without the presence of the actual bicycle.
The series is reminiscent of Natsumi Hayashi’s levitating girl photographs, although one major difference to point out is that she works completely in-camera—no digital alterations are done to her floating images.