As a woman brought up in China, I used to think I could only love someone who was older and more mature than me, who could be my protector and mentor. Then I met my current boyfriend, Moro, who is 5 years younger than me. I immediately felt my whole concept of relationships changed. Suddenly, I became the person who had more authority and power. One of my male friends even questioned how I could have chosen a boyfriend the same way a man chooses a girlfriend. In response, I thought, "Damn right. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and why not!"

In this relationship, I started to experiment. I would set up all kinds of situations for Moro and me to perform in the photos. By exploring alternate possibilities for a man and a woman as a couple, these photos question the norm for heterosexual relationships. I wanted to see what would happen if a woman and man exchanged their roles of sex and power. And partly because my boyfriend is Japanese, and I am Chinese, this project also describes a love-hate relationship.

— Pixy Yijun Liao

Editor's Note: See more work from the winners of the
2013 LensCulture Exposure Awards.