Please join us in the Bookshop and meet photographer Grace Lau who is presenting her photobook Portraits in a Chinese Studio. The book is being published by Parakeet Books, it is edited by the curator and writer Val Williams, and contains an essay by Shirley Read.
In the summer of 2005, Grace Lau set up a portrait studio on Hastings seafront. . Over six weeks, she made 400 photographs; everyone who posed received a free digital print. She called her project ‘21st Century Types’ and the photographs speak volumes about the way we see ourselves and the way we are seen.
These rich, many layered opulent portraits, made in a community centre on a scruffy seafront, by a Chinese-born feminist photographer, more used to portraying the fetish underworld than families with ice creams, are a monument to place, race, people and the passing of time. Acting the part of the stern Chinese studio portraitist, she created a raucous theatre of photography.
Grace Lau was born in London of Chinese parentage, and is a photographer, artist, writer and lecturer. She has exhibited widely, including at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain in London, Photofusion London and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales.
Her work is included in Seaside: Photographed, Turner Contemporary, Margate, 25 May – 8 September and touring.
In 2005 Lau received an Arts Council England grant to recreate a nineteenth- century Chinese portrait studio in Hastings in which she invited residents and visitors to pose for their portraits, in a reverse situation to that of Victorian photographers in China during the 1800s. Her project resulted in an archive of contemporary 21st Century Types, published for the first time in Portraits In a Chinese Studio.
Earlier publications by Grace Lau include Adults in Wonderland (1997) and Picturing the Chinese: Early Western Photographs and Postcards of China (2008).
Thu 2 May, 18.00 - 20.00, Bookshop
free event, no Booking.