My family moved from Hong Kong to Los Angeles when I was sixteen. Those first years were difficult for an immigrant teenager due to language and culture shifts, and at times were overwhelming as I tried to find my place in this new world. From discovery, insight and serendipity, the American culture was slowly absorbed. More specific to So Cal, the beach architype is ingrained in the lifestyle, and I quickly learned that it was a place that provided comfort and inspiration to me as a young man. I now frequent the beach regularly as a place for relaxation and observation.
With this series, Distant Memories, I capture the childhood that I could have experienced, those weekend forays to museums, outings to the waters edge, with family, friends and a picnic basket filled with the ingredients for a perfect day. Like finding shells on the shore, I am collecting visual memories.
And while they might not be my memories, they allow me to imagine a childhood in a place I now call home.
Richard Chow’s “Distant Memories”, is a lovely black and white series that takes us from the village to the sea. Capturing elegiac images of a childhood he could’ve experienced on Southern California beaches, but as an immigrant, did not; he’s collected a beautiful series of images into wall installations. Viewed at a remove through pier telescopes and long lenses, Chow lets us view just glimpses of wonder, a personal window into community, family, and love. Subjects from the Manhattan Beach Pier to body-boarders in the surf framed by the shade of a beach umbrella cumulatively shape and recreate an ephemeral time and place that never quite was, but always will be.”
- Genie Davis, Art Review for MOAH (Museum of Art of History Lancaster) It Take a Village.