Out of the shadows
Photographer: Chris Lau
Exhibit Title: Out of the shadows
Location: Quebec, Canada
‘Out of the Shadows’ sheds light on people living on the margins of society. Paying homage to Diane Arbus who saw those that would otherwise go ignored, this social documentary portrait series captures people in all their authenticity: their defiance, vulnerability, awkwardness and sensuality. Through my social worker lens and my critical aperture, each person is acknowledged, no longer hidden behind the labels and stereotypes imposed on them…imposed on US, as I include myself among them.
Focused lighting creatively and symbolically casts shadows onto their richly-textured realities. Both black-and-white and colour images are used to convey the timelessness of the subjects (we have always existed and will continue to exist forever) as well as their very present existence.
Living in the shadows doesn’t imply living on the periphery of society, nor does it mean we are the minority. We are many who share a common, yet distinct, experience of “othering”. Once we realize our commonality, we are, in fact, the majority and at the very center of society.
Life often leads you down unexpected roads. From being an architectural technician to a social worker and, now, a photographer and visual artist. Perhaps we’re meant to constantly evolve as human beings.
Each of my professional careers inform the others, giving me a unique perspective on life and about people. My attention to detail and sense of perfection, my humanism and compassion, my ethical values, as well as my desire to deliberately not fit into social norms or visual standards define who I am.
Although I strive not to mimic any famous photographers, I am hugely inspired by the vision of Diane Arbus, an American photographer whosaw those that would otherwise go ignored. I believe photography has the power to change people’s attitudes and people’s lives. I don’t aim to solely create beautiful images; I aim more so to create impactful ones. I aim to bring out people’s authenticity. I aim to document the world as it truly is, through my anti-oppressive lens.
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