Essential to the play of the Chinatowns are, of course, the people and the stages upon which lives are lived. The vitality of each living, changing community and the general welcoming nature of those who pass through the Chinatowns inspire me always. And there is always a moment or a detail – often of the commonplace that we no longer see – that remains silent but significant, even within the color and chaos, that captures me and my camera.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, I have been photographing in the Chinatowns of the United States & Canada, starting in the San Francisco Chinatown where I was out amid the dark shadows and early activity of the new day. The light seduced me while awakening strong childhood memories of family visits to the LA Downtown Chinatown near my father’s photo labs.
There has been continuing Chinese immigration to the United States for almost 3/4 of our nation’s history. A similar history occurs in Canada. In the Chinatowns there is vibrance and drama with many stories to be told about these portals into the American dream.
What intrigues me most is the still beauty that defines this narrative, hoping to show another side of the tale that yet incorporates the past, present and the future. One perhaps even more evocative of those passing through. My photographs inspired by the gathering places of historic and new communities seek to honor that contribution.
findingchinatown.blogspot complements the photographic images.
This long-term project on the US & Canadian Chinatowns was first exhibited to critical acclaim at the Craig Krull Gallery (Los Angeles).