This is an extended edit of a series that offers an off-beat, conceptual exploration of a strange new land—California. The original project was named a finalist in the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2015. Discover more inspiring work from all of the winners and finalists.

“I flew to San Francisco from Shanghai on August 11, 2014. The whole journey extended 9,872 miles, and the flight took 10 hours and 50 minutes. The time difference between Shanghai and San Francisco was 15 hours, so I took three days to get adjusted. I slept for at least ten hours each day. In the following years, I went outside each week…”

This series is based on my daily life and imagination. I keep a distance from the city where I reside. Landmarks, shopping malls and the community in which I live have been reconstructed as an unreal city in images and on memory.

This is a fictitious city that is based on an actual place, but transformed by an associative process. With people seeming to appear out of the mist, the slightly off-kilter images all connect to something odd but interesting. The images ask viewers to look again, to step closer, to investigate what might be there in that other dimension.

—Qian Zhao