John Wayne Airport Showcases Unique Negative Space Digital Photography

(SANTA ANA, CA) – Inspired by Ansel Adams and traditional Chinese landscape painting, artist Crystal Yachin Lee creates mesmerizing images of space embracing vastness within her compositions to emphasize her subject and evoke an emotional response. Examples of her unique perspective will be displayed at John Wayne Airport in a new exhibit showcasing photographs from her group of works entitled Ciel. Her art will be displayed in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal as part of the JWA Community Focus Space through October 19, 2021.

“As Ansel Adams once said: ‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer’. I consider myself first and foremost a visual communication designer. My photographs are an extension of my practice as a designer. While my images are often taken in places of great beauty, the emotional experience is best conveyed by removing any clutter, debris, or distractions from the environment. Therefore, utilizing the digital technologies allows me to show you what I see.”

Born in Taiwan, Lee received an MFA in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1997. Beginning with an international student work permit, she obtained a work visa and eventually received her permanent residency in the U.S. through her full-time employment. Lee became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

Prior to relocating to Orange County, California in 2002, Lee was employed by a northern Virginia design firm as an environmental graphic designer, creating museum exhibitions for over five years. Some of the exhibition projects she worked on include the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, Maryland, the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia and the Texas History Museum in Austin, Texas.

Lee is a tenured professor of Visual Communication Design in the Department of Art at Cal Poly Pomona. She teaches various courses in Visual Communication Design and exhibits her digital photography as her scholarly activity. She has actively participated in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States since 2003. For more information on Lee’s work, visit

Lee’s exhibit may be viewed (pre-security) on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B, and C and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.

Visit our John Wayne Airport Arts Program page for more information.