About Bi

Born in Geneva of Scottish-Yugoslav parents, I was educated in England and have lived in Oxford since the 1980's. My interests range from Chinese and Linguistics to photography and diplomacy. I have earned a living by lecturing in all four of these subjects.

My interest in photography and my professional practice dates back to the 1990's while I was a Junior Research Fellow in Linguistics at Christ Church, Oxford. I see photography and linguistics as intimately connected first, because the verbal and the visual are both essential media of communication, and second, because they are central to our perception of the world: we rely primarily on words and images in order to interpret - and influence - our environment.

My interest in cognitive categories and the process of recategorisation informed my D.Phil thesis on language change in Chinese, and inspires my photography as well. If there is a single theme behind my creative photography, it is the desire to startle viewers into awareness: to make them 'see things new' rather than to show new things. It is for this reason that double-takes and ambiguities figure prominently in my personal work.

In my professional photography I find myself similarly drawn to redefinitions - such as those one finds at weddings, or creates in college prospectuses. In the case of portraits I am keen to capture transitory or understated expressions which invite multiple interpretations.

The same fascination in the power of categorisation to influence our perception and understanding of the world has led me into the study of diplomacy, and of propaganda and public diplomacy in particular. I continue to lecture on Language & Diplomacy for DiploFoundation while working as a professional photographer.