Michelle Chan (Chan Wan Chee)
Michelle Chan Wan Chee is a relational artist who works primarily in photography. She is interested in the act of looking, uses the camera and manipulated images to generate connections and conversations with people, so to discover, reflect and challenge our habitual impressions of people, places and things. She believes that photography is a great tool not only to connecting others but to looking honestly within ourselves. Her work often touches upon the notion of home, sense of belonging, human connections and bonding, and familial relationships. More specifically, they reflect the inherited familial beliefs that inform our daily gestures and rituals, and explores the Chinese beliefs that have become recurrent over centuries.
Her work has been exhibited in Hong Kong and internationally, including the Angkor Photo Festival 2019, Singapore International Photography Festival 2020 and Objectifs’ Women in Film and Photography 2021 (Singapore). She was awarded laureate at the International Women Photography Award in 2019 for her series, Crab Seniors. In 2021, she received the Prince Claus Seed Awards for her ongoing project, Kaufu. The work was presented in a solo exhibition, as part of the Hong Kong International Photo Festival 2022.
Alongside her individual artistic practice, she founded Hong Kong Photobook Club (Phoboko), a platform that brings people together through photobooks and the topics they contain. Through monthly meetings, photobooks are used as “social objects” for dialogues and knowledge exchange between participants. Group discussion ranged from how creators convey their concepts using photography and materialising them into photobook form, to exploring the culture, society, and history that the photobooks make visible. As a community, Phoboko interrogates photography as a medium, promote the vision of local Hong Kong artists while in dialogue with other photographers in the Asia-Pacific region.
She also writes about the social life of photography in #somethingtotalkabout, using images to think through different issues. More recently, she began teaching photography as a medium to understand our selves and our relationships with others.