Photography | Chen Man – Sparking the Imagination

photo: Chen Man


Chen Man is world renowned for her photography and it isn’t difficult to see why. The exhibition space at the Stanley and Audrey Burton gallery may only display a small selection of images but they captivate and capture the attention of the viewer.

Man creates digital photographic prints using Photoshop and other digital editing tools to enhance and heighten real photographs. She combines images of old Chinese architecture with new technology, as well as photoshopped colour spatters, jewels and other bright colours to create other worldly portraits which are both futuristic and reflective of the kind of photos seen in fashion magazines. The images are bold, beautiful, yet also strange, with influences seeming to come from a mix of manga, anime, pop culture and fashion.

There is a particular focus on faces, with many of the prints combining a mix of extravagant makeup to create eye-catching fashion prints. “Erotica #2” is particularly attention grabbing; the bright, warm coloured makeup contrasts with the model’s bright blue eyes and the coral-like, underwater elements that Man has added to the image. Images like these are both fantastical and unique, with every image containing different elements.

What is striking about all of the images though are the eyes of the models. They seem to stare right at you, as if they are trying to tell you something. Many of these women seem content enough, but there is just something about the images that suggests a hidden, sinister meaning. The exhibition as a whole though is definitely one to see. Man creates images that could be interpreted differently by everyone. They spark the imagination.

Alice Rafter

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