Chan Wai Kwong’s vision of the Japanese city Tokyo (titled “Tokyo 2013”) appears as an almost overwhelming rush of images—shot after shot he seems to float around the city like an all-seeing entity rather than a photographer on two legs, capturing a woman’s face from very close up in one shot, the door to a closed shop the next, to give a blurred view of the city from above before returning to the very bottom of the street, presenting a petit flower growing beneath the cracks. All his photographs are taken in typical Chan Wai Kwong-style black-and-white with the contrast so high that the images sometimes contain no gray at all. Forget about “smelling the street”—in Kwong’s street photography you can almost taste it.
Chan Wai Kwong was born in 1976 in Hong Kong. His father was a news photographer and his mother worked in the Macao casinos. Chan dropped out of New Method College just one year after entering the school in 1988. He then drifted in and out of odd jobs for many years, working in a restaurant and as an office errand “boy”. He started taking photographs in his teens in a casual way, got more and more involved and is entirely self-taught and self-reliant. Chan invariably photographs in black and white and on film.