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Ka-Man Tse Photography

by Ka-Man Tse

June 1 to September 28, 2016

These photographs are part of an ongoing investigation surrounding notions of home, family, identity and community. My image-making is informed by the points of intersection between the LGBTQ and the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community; and what is shared, divergent, and negotiated between these two seemingly disparate worlds. Using mostly a large format view camera (there are two sides per film holder), my photographs offer B-sides: a mix-tape of queer narratives and portraiture, memories and obsessions,

What does it mean to look, what does it mean to be seen? Whose histories are told or visible? I am a photographer searching for an image of possibility. In these photographs, I think about issues of access and disclosure, visibility and protection; visibility and resistance. In the contested and contingent spaces in Hong Kong, New York, and in the home, occupying a space, a conversation and visibility is political. Possibilities start with small gestures, or a question, spoken or unspoken, clear or coded, in private and the public.

Faces that would not kiss in life /   Press together as the pages /  Close
- Ken Chen, Echo, Juvenilia, 2010


I was born in Hong Kong and raised in the U.S.; my family and I worked in Chinese restaurants in Schenectady, New York. Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, we would regularly pile into our two-door Prelude and drive 3.5 hours to Chinatown, New York; on the long drives, we listened to cassette tapes of Cantonese pop stars: Anita Mui, Alan Tam, Sally Yeh, and Jacky Cheung. It was a pilgrimage in many senses of the word: for dim sum, for a surrogate of home 8,000 miles away, to stock pile-up on Chinese groceries. What does it mean to be Chinese? What does it mean to be queer and Asian in the U.S., and in Hong Kong? In this liminal space of neither here nor there, my camera allows me to navigate and connect, both in and between these worlds. Out of this triangular journey between Hong Kong, Schenectady, New York, and back, I recast this world out of a desire to see it repopulated and re-imagined, with my protagonists, and family: both inherited and created.

June 4th, 2016 - September 28th, 2016 Mulberry Street Library