Chien-Chi Chang. Chinatown

Low-paying restaurant jobs sustain many immigrants, 1996

Chang began this self-assigned essay in black and white in 1992, and the colour images came in 1996, when assigned by National Geographic, who first published them in 1998. In the essay, Chang moved in to one of Chinatown’s, New York, immigrant boarding houses. In Chinatown, the illegal immigrants, exceed the 30,000 annual legal migrants.

The images document every day life, in a casual manner. I enjoy these photographs because Chang was in the moment, living with these people in the same conditions. I think it adds a sense of authenticity to the photographs. The captions simply define the images, what you can see in the image, or where it is, this helps the viewer read the image in context. I like the rawness of the images, but more context in to the conditions or people, including opinions or quotes, could fuel the story.


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