stephen.chen.sf photography
general : about


Stephen Chen's formal photographic training began and ended with a photojournalism course in University. There, he found himself increasingly drawn to fine art photography and took many pictures that were awful from a photojournalist standpoint. Unrepentant, Stephen delved into the study of fine-art photography and became proficient with its various aspects, including historical processes and the use of large format cameras.

Stephen left in Singapore in 2001 and eventually moved to Vancouver, BC to pursue graduate studies in the confluence between aesthetics and ethics, as well as politics and philosophy. He currently resides in Toronto.

An avid outdoor adventurer, Stephen seeks to capture and reinterpret his aesthetic / peripatetic experience. One of the primary forces behind Stephen's early work is his desire to "(re)humanize the landscape" - in his view, the aesthetic ideals of fine art photography have been reified to create the 'heroic' myth of the virgin landscape. His goal is to demythify this 'virgin' landscape and rehumanize it by selectively flouting conventions, as well as to realize its potential for commentary.

Although Stephen has since expanded his oeuvre to capture and explore other subject matter, ultimately what he seeks to represent is Man's relationship with his surroundings - be it environment, cities, people, or objects. This uncommon aesthetic is evidenced by explorations into the expressive properties of space and allegory; which are marked by an increasing rejection of conventional literal and figure/ground ideals.

Each portfolio/exhibit is structured like a musical composition, where each print, each idea, each motif, leads inexorably onto the next based on the impulses of the past. Stephen has exhibited his work in Seattle, Vancouver and Toronto.

Stephen's CV

Writings on Vision, Authorship, Photography