The news I’ve been bursting to tell you all is that after three years of applying in a row, I was finally accepted to do an art residency in New York City! It’s at an organization called NARS. In my personal project I want to explore human fragility, vulnerability and connection.

To make this dream come true I’ll be starting a crowdfunding campaign next month and hope you can be part of this incredible journey!

Empire State of Mind - Daphne Chan moving to NY

Empire State of Mind – Daphne Chan moving to NY

Next week I’ll be traveling to New York to attend one of the largest photography conferences in the continent called PhotoPlusExpo. There will be thousands of photographers and exhibitors from around the country. For the most part, it’s such a great opportunity to meet and get reacquainted with old friends and colleagues. Sometimes, I confess, it can be a challenge to not to fall into comparing oneself to others when we share our new work, clients or personal projects.

I read this recently and will keep these words in mind for next week in NYC surrounded by some of the most talented people in my field.

“You have a gift and it is meant to be shared in this life. Use it, gift it, apply it, but whatever you do, don’t waste it. Life is too precious to leave your song unsung, your book unwritten, or your dreams undone. Stop questioning if you are good enough, special enough, or gifted enough to do it.”

Here are some universal truths apply to you no matter where you are in life or what mistakes you’ve made in the past. I truly believe we all have a gift and it is meant to be shared so just go for it!

Change Your Life

The Analog Wall

How do you gather your ideas? Every time I start a new project I start with a literal blank wall. I call it the analog wall become it’s the opposite of digital; there’s a craft-like hand-making aspect to the work that’s tactile and somehow feels more real then images on a screen. This wall then ends up with photos, words, images, quotes, etc. It is a constant process of reinvention. Sometimes I’m piling up images on top of one another, other times I’m ripping them off the wall. This time I allowed myself to draw and write on the walls. It was giving myself permission to commit to ideas and concepts. This stage of the process always feels exciting and yet the most uncertain. What’s your experience? Do you have an analog wall?

The Analog Wall by Daphne Chan

The Analog Wall by Daphne Chan

I’m working on a new fine art project by combing through my childhood photos and came across the one below. It’s a good reminder that as artists, we all start somewhere.

So about 13 years ago I moved with this young man, at the time my boyfriend, to a city where I had no friends no family and no job. I had been studying photography since high school but had never considered it as a career path. Having just graduated from law school, my mother was understandably horrified this would even be an option. John encouraged me to open a photography studio saying, “what do you have to lose?” And the rest is history. Often the doubt and fear can hold you back from going after your highest dreams and it just takes one person to spark that within you.

This is the first “serious” portrait I took of him and printed in the darkroom and to this day it makes me chuckle. With a seasoned eye, I can critique the photo but it reminds me to stay humble and that we all start somewhere.

Portrait of John Waldron

Portrait of John Waldron

Last week I got a call out of the blue from a man named Darrell Wilson. He’s a professor in Film and Television at the NYU Tisch School of Arts. He explained that New York University was hosting an artist talk to honor a legendary drag artist and gender activist named Flawless Sabrina (aka Jack Doroshow).

Darrell had been searching online for photos of Flawless Sabrina and came across my fine art website. I had the amazing opportunity to meet Flawless Sabrina at a burlesque bar as a photography student in New York. The Flawless Sabrina is the project I photographed at a very famous drag cabaret restaurant called Lucky Cheng’s.

I’m so honored I’ll be presenting my work to the NYU Tisch School of Arts and they requested the use of my images from the series!

Here are details of the event if you’ll be in New York including her bio:

“Legendary drag impresario and gender activist Flawless Sabrina ( aka Jack Doroshow) is an influential entrepreneur for establishing queer public performance in a pre Stonewall era. As a trailblazer Flawless Sabrina appropriated the artform of the beauty pageant to cross gender boundaries and award visibility of the transgressing and beholding of beauty.  While challenging societal heteronormative norms at a time when the term cross dresser was not only pathologized but illegal. Arrested, detained Flawless refused to be kept in the closet as an oddity or a secret but continued to celebrate and encourage the expansion and public awareness of queer fluid expression and representation without shame or apology.
The conversation will feature clips and out-takes from the 1968 documentary Queen. ”

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne ChanThe Flawless Sabrina by Daphne ChanThe Flawless Sabrina by Daphne ChanThe Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne ChanThe Flawless Sabrina by Daphne ChanThe Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan

The Flawless Sabrina by Daphne Chan