Most of Shen's images play with the angles of his body: bent knees on a window sill, an arched back bend, a straight leg interrupting a table top still life, a triangular elbow propping up his head. His graceful stance in a submerged boat, using his outstretched leg to make concentric ripples in the light dappled water reminded me of Thomas Eakins. A few others offer complex, unknowable situations and interactions: a hand on his neck that might be either a caress or a choke, a bedside scene flanked by a nude woman and a sprawled man that offers any number of possible explanations. Shadows engulf many of the photographs, drawing our attention to the central figure in the light and adding a layer of introspective melancholy.
The best of these photographs left me impressed with Shen's growing compositional talents. When the pictures work, he successfully walks the line between realism and lyricism, all within the context of something genuinely personal.