Though his work is often compared to that of Salgado, Chun Wai’s images are in truth far more realistic in nature than his predecessor’s. His images’ unique matter-of-factness has the unique delaying effect on the emotional response of their viewers. Rather than triggering passion, Chun’s photographs compel one into contemplation.
The collection of Chun Wai’s works in this book is an attempt to “interpret the lives of local people today using a broad historical framework”. Indeed, his images are remarkably full expressions of the organic details of life: strangely saintly-looking Indians strolling down a road; a solitary Afghan weightlifter; boats stranded on parched periphery of the Aral Sea; an angelic girl amidst gravestones in Manila; scenes of disjointed, dreamlike reality from the urban landscape of Hong Kong. Throughout, Chun’s camera lens reconciles the extreme possibilities of interpretation, preserving the ambiguity of images, and striking a balance between strength and beauty.
About the photographer Hong Kong-born Chun Wai received his artistic education in sculpture at Le Quai-?cole sup?rieure d’art de Mulhouse in France, and went on to work as a sculptor and teacher as well as developing his technique as a photographer. Central to his photographic style is his belief in portraying the essence of reality. Grounded in realism and rich in social connotation, Chun’s images have an uncompromising quality, with the artist painstakingly waiting for his subjects to naturally respond to his camera in their own time and space. Over the years, he has documented the beauty and compassion of life in photos that have the power to transcend social and geographic boundaries to expose a sublime universal human truth.