They are artists: Ann Chih

Please tell us about your art practice

I am an artist that uses photography as a main medium to express.  My artistic impulse is to develop images by filtering through camera lenses the overwhelming information that surrounds me on a daily basis.

Photography is never a preoccupation with capturing a ‘concrete’ reality.  Instead, I am intrigued by the possibilities that photography can offer in exploring the relationship between what is visible and what is not, the ambiguous qualities of my distorted images allow the viewers to ponder about the power and longevity of photography as a communicative medium and an art form.

Departure 1 , 2014
Departure 1 , 2014

How did you begin your art journey?

I was very fortunate to learn about the arts during high school.  Being in UK allowed me to immerse into arts on a daily basis.  I would join trips to visit galleries, museums, exhibitions.  Sometimes attend plays, theater performance and musicals. I would create collages in my sketch book, or make photographs as I travel.

I began “seeing” the world when I first bought a film camera in an Oxfam shop in UK. It was during my last two years of high school that I had the opportunity to go through the unique experience using film, process and develop work in the dark room.

I have been working with photography since then.

Did your experience and eduction in HK affect you creatively?

I’ve been very fortunate to receive education in SCAD HK, where I was able to continue develop work with both western and eastern influences.  It was definitely through the SCAD that I became a more outspoken person, and more open to the idea of collaborations.  SCAD encourage artists to share ideas and feedback to improve each other, my work strengthened through many critiques from different viewpoints.  Eidos Skopeo for instance is a direct response to my surrounding in Hong Kong.  It was very important for me to receive feedbacks from both local who experience the city on a daily basis and from visitors who just started their adventure in Hong Kong.  In some ways, their feed back was a motivation for me to develop better work both aesthetically and conceptually.

What medium do you usually use for artwork development?

Traditional photography is part of my process.  I love the aesthetic of working with raw materials such as cyanotype, film and dark room printing.  I love that it allows errors and many failures to reach the final pieces. It taught me to think before pressing the shutter, it taught me to solve problems visually by experimenting.  Most importantly it taught me to work with limitations.  In some ways, traditional photography is my teacher and my inspiration.

Living in a time where digital technology is part of daily life means that I also work a lot with Photoshop.  It allows me to experiment as much as I want to with less concern on cost. I also uses filters and various functions on Photoshop to create works that reflects my time and surrounding.

Color Slides 2, 2013
Color Slides 2, 2013

What is your creative process like?

I usually capture large amount of photos from daily commute. Every other month I would spend time and sit down to look through the photos, there are usually similar themes between the photos.

Once the themes are sorted, I then try to dig deeper as to what my subconscious is interested in.  Is it physical appearance of my surroundings?  Is it a certain emotion I’m particularly drawn to? Is there a particular medium I want to experiment?

Once I’ve narrowed down the questions, I go on to experiment with different medium to explore the series’ potential.

For example: My work Eidos Skopeo was first processed via film and print in the darkroom, it later evolved to digital manipulation via Photoshop and turned into inkjet print.  Over a period of 2-3 years, the idea of endlessly evolving “urbanscape” expanded into exhibition invites and photo book.

My working process varies depend on the project’s theme. It is rather fluid and there’s no one format or fixed system to every project.  Bruce Lee’s quote lends a reflection of my work philosophy. “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.”

How does art affect you?

Art and photography are part of my life.

Both encourage me to move out of comfort zone at all times. I was a very shy girl growing up and wasn’t very good at communicating or talking to anyone. Life changed completely when I decided to commit to photography, It made me realize there were a lot of traits I needed to improve to become a better person. Most importantly, I was able to find my voice and confidence from creating works.

My eyes see potential, my camera became my eyes and my mind process the experience my eyes envisioned.

“I think artists and photographers have the privilege to voice out opinions on social welfare and I always strive to relate the work to history, to the world of human culture rather than my personal sensibilities.




Ann’s works:


Favourite Movie: Amelie

Favourite Cartoon Character: Cardcaptor Sakura

Favourite Book: Tuesdays With Morrie

Most admired person: Adele

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