“Chimera” by Stephen Lam
About Stephen Lam
Stephen Lam graduated from the International Center of Photography in New York in 1999. Since returning to Hong Kong, Lam has been producing photography works which often challenge the boundaries of the medium.
Lam's photography works have been featured in several group shows in Hong Kong, New York and Europe. His works were twice selected to participate in the Fringe Festival, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France in 1999 and 2005. He was a participant in the Hong Kong Art Biennial in 2003.
Lam's first solo exhibition, "M." was hosted by the Sterilemind Gallery, New York in 2002. He has then held various solo exhibitions in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Fringe Club (Bedtime Stories / 2002), agnès b. librairie galeire (Let's hide in the park / 2003) and UMA G Gallery (Seven Wonders / 2006).
Lam's work is in the permanent collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, U.S.A.
Chimera is a collection of Lam's surreal and poetic images from his new book of the same title. Juxtaposing seemingly unrelated streetscapes with mundane interiors, Lam creates a mental landscape where dreams and illusions roam freely.
There is a cliched scene in old Hong Kong movies which I find very amusing. It usually involves a couple who are deeply in love. The woman dies in some unforseen tragedy and the man is thrown into the deepest despair. In order to meet his beloved for a brief moment, he borrows another woman's dead body for his lost love's soul to live in for a short while. It usually features quite lo-tech special effects.
That scene in the movie pretty much epitomizes the nature of photography to me.
A photograph is like an illegitimate child of reality. When you press the shutter, you cut off the umbilical cord to which reality is attached. A new being is born. It begins to take on a life of its own, but always maintains a semblance of the truth it used to represent. I guess that is why I find photography so intriguing. You slice off a small portion of the real world and nurture it with your own emotions and aspirations. It is a twilight zone where dreams and illusions roam freely. It is a bastard of memories and hallucinations. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy which keeps hope alive.
As in the movie, I look into the eyes of a perfect stranger and I get a glimpse of my own soul. I am overjoyed, even though it is only for a brief moment. And I am filled with love again.