For my documentary photography series, I chronicled everyday life in the Chinatown neighbourhood of Toronto, which is an area close to where I live. Chinatown is captivating with its shops, restaurants, markets and its crowds and buzzing activity. But even more fascinating are the residential streets of Chinatown filled with diverse, eclectic, and sometimes even eccentric homes. My documentary series explores the front of these colourful homes in Chinatown and examines the curbside view and what it says about the people who live there. To borrow the cliché, “home is where the heart is”, these photographs seek to capture the soul of Chinatown, by portraying its residents’ homes.

The perspective of the series of photographs is of an outsider looking in, that is, an observer looking into the lives of a household and into a community. The focus is on the porches and windows of these homes, which provides a glimpse into people’s lives. It is always interesting to study what people choose to have visible to the public both in windows and on their porches. One look at these personal spaces can often capture the imagination. There is a certain visibility and transparency of a person translated by their home, but at the same time, these documentary photographs in this series are also somewhat voyeuristic, hinting at what might be unknown or hidden (the photos of windows in particular have a voyeur quality, since they are looking directly into the home). This documentary series of photographs seeks to both look and spy. The camera bears witness to the lives of the residents of the Chinatown and provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of strangers. 

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