Art illuminates the soul of an artist. Photography is a vehicle for an artist to communicate personal inspirations and experiences. No landscape, scenery, or architecture is ordinary if it provokes a reaction from the viewer - a memory, an emotion, or a spiritual connection. If the composition of the subject(s) touches my heart, then I can perceive a beautiful outcome. Furthermore, the image must possess a dynamic energy that animates the audience.

My philosophy towards my work can be summarized by Buddha's wisdom, "Your work is to discover your work, and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it." My mission is to use my lens to capture the beauty of the landscapes and the cultures of the world, particularly Southeast Asia, and to cultivate appreciation to as many audiences as possible.

Presently, we are moving rapidly towards globalization, so that there is a call of urgency for cultural exchange and understanding. As a photographer, I feel I have the ability and the responsibility to contribute to bringing the world together. Being of Asian heritage, I have to first discover my own culture in order to offer it meaningfully to others. In my numerous travels in Asia, I have been enriched by the diversity in people’s ways of life and traditions. It is a glimpse of the past for there are regions untouched by the technological revolution. Simplicity of life is exemplified in their community life and survival skills.

In the years I have been participating in the art shows in the United States, I have often been asked about my photographs. This is my opportunity to speak about the Asian continent, and the many Asiatic faces from the serene mountains of Huangshan to the shifting sands of the Gobi desert of Mongolia, the Burmese rice paddies, and the ancient temples of Cambodia. Through this dialogue, with as many people as possible, the enigma of this continent can be uplifted.

Michael Chen