Shuhan Chen

Seeing Others / Seeing Ourselves

"This project features my mom. Inspired by Suzy Lake’s Beauty at a Proper Distance, where she shoots from an unflattering angle, exhibiting her facial hair, an attribute considered “un-lady-like” by the masses, yet simultaneously, exudes confidence and strength in older women (Lake, 2001). Like most middle-aged women, my mom is not completely confident with her looks, but she always makes an effort to fit society’s standards of beauty."

Nowadays, Photoshop is almost necessary for selfies and few post unedited pictures of themselves on social media, but people in their most natural form are both beautiful and worth exploring. Using a grid format, I took pictures of my mom’s facial features and aligned nine pictures to compose one image. I wanted to show that beauty does not have to be in one form. By featuring signs of ageing, like her necklines and age pigment, the audience will have a chance to observe her features in detail. I wish to break the stereotype that only women in their youth are beautiful and to present that there is more than one way to showcase so-called beauty, which does not always have to be glamorous portraits, but can be raw depictions of detailed features.

Shuhan Chen is a Toronto-based artist whose work involves a wide range of subjects. As a music enthusiast, she has turned her passion for music and photography toward being a concert photographer and she has had the honour of photographing several talented musicians. Identifying as a queer person of colour, she also appreciates photographing things she identifies with and is curious about, including qpoc, pride Toronto, gender fluidity, drag culture, fashion and nature.