In 2017, my oldest sister and I set off on our first-ever trip to China to connect with our long lost, but not forgotten, older brother. He still lives in the village that our mother was born in—San He Chang in the township of Shen Jing, city of Taishan, province of Guangdong—and was forced to flee during the exodus from Communism in the early 1950s.
“My Mother Was Born Here” is a photographic series captured during our 11 days in this village. There are no family pictures included here. Instead, these are images of the local folk I met during my daily walkabouts and the fleeting moments of life in a place connected to my history and somehow a part of my blood. I felt a sense of familiarity in this place—the land I trekked, the air I breathed, the food I ate, the faces I encountered. As if I had always been in this village. And though I was welcomed by all whom I met, I was still an outsider looking in.
The life of my mother’s village imprinted on the faces of these people drew me to creating these images in black and white. There are no distractions—just the essence of joy, hardship, pride, and contemplation reflected in the human experience.
Since the age of three, Vincent L. Chan has held a camera in his hand. Intrigued by both the art and science behind photography, Vincent learned his trade from the bottom up, developing his craft through years of apprenticeship with leading photographers in Canada and the United States.
For most of his photographic journey, he concentrated on commercial work while honing his expertise in black and white portraiture. Vincent draws his inspiration from the works of George Hurrell and the great Canadian portrait photographer Yousef Karsh, as well as from classic painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer.