Ka-Man Tse’s carefully orchestrated images offer indirect narratives, her protagonists often appearing in moments of rumination. For example, two men earnestly embrace against the Hong Kong skyline and a gender-nonconforming person regards themself in a mirror that doubles their likeness. The latter image calls forth the complexity of identity, and the notion we all contain many selves.
“If each image offers a fragment of a narrative, rendered in luminous light and subtle casts of color, Tse’s series as a whole is grounded in concrete concerns,” writes Aperture Foundation, who awarded Tse the 2018 Aperture Portfolio Prize.
Tse’s focus is on the intersection of Asian Pacific Islander and LGBTQ communities. As she writes in her project statement, “In the contested and contingent spaces in the home, in the public realm, holding a space and a conversation is an act. Possibilities start with small gestures, clear or coded. . . . They are made out of a need to occupy the landscape, space, and frame.” Using film and a view camera, Tse has chosen a slow, deliberative image making process. Those she photographs appear radiant in their bedrooms or in New York and Hong Kong’s public spaces. In these images, Tse is framing and photographing her own community, on their own terms, as they wish to be seen, bringing her friends and subjects into incandescent visibility.
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