Carson Sanders

Carson Sanders has had the good fortune be educated on two continents at the same school. He spent last year at Savannah College of Art and Design’s Hong Kong campus and is now back at the Savannah, GA campus working towards his BFA. Born in Dallas, Texas, Carson is an editor at aint-bad magazine, a quarterly art journal focusing on images that discuss human existence, culture, and contemporary issues. Carson is continuing to document the south and is about to take a road trip across the lower half of the U.S.

I am featuring two bodies of work he produced in China, Yuen Po Street Bird Marketand Happy Valley Racecourse.

Yuen Po Street Bird Market: The Yuen Po Street Bird Market located in Prince Edward is a place that I grew accustomed to during the ten weeks that I spent in Hong Kong in the Fall of 2011. Witnessing the love that these men and women have for their birds is something that I never thought I would come across while studying abroad. For me, this body of work transcribes the beauty that can often go un-noticed when passing through the heavily congested market.

One must stop and watch, as these men do each day, to understand why these creatures mean so much to this culture as a whole. Men spend hours staring past the bars of the cages and into the souls of these birds; as if they are trying to understand exactly what it is that these little creatures are doing here on this planet. This question may go unanswered for hundreds of years, but the men will keep staring, day after day.

Happy Valley Racecourse is located in Wan Chai, Hong Kong and is completely surrounded by skyscrapers. Standing inside the complex is surreal as you look in each direction and see tall buildings all around with a clearing in the middle for a grass track. Men and women flock to the horse races that take place on Wednesdays and Sundays. For some, this is the only excitement that they will have all week. For others, it’s a chance to finally make it big on a winning ticket. Regardless of why; they come. And they come each night, each week, and sit in the stands, or in the indoor sections, watching small televisions mounted on walls. They are all watching to see if the horse that they chose will make them a winner.

As the horses round the final corner, the noise is almost too much to handle. Screaming and shouting at a television set that has no control over the outcome of the race is common practice at Happy Valley. The winners are known immediately and can be heard from almost anywhere in the stadium. Their eyes fill with tears of joy as they proceed to the counter to collect their winnings. The losers can be heard as well, but it’s a different sound. They are not shouting with joy but rather cursing with anger. And while walking to the counter, they aren’t smiling, but rather fidgeting for coins and other money that can be spent on another race, another chance to have a better tomorrow.