Noel Zhang is a British-East Asian photographer and documentarian. In the 1990s, his family immigrated from China to London, where he was born and continues to be based. Zhang embraces a variety of subjects in his practice, but has an ongoing focus on Asian communities in London, through which he explores his own personal heritage. He is currently volunteering at Hackney Chinese Community Services, a community centre in East London, where much of his photographic work is focused.
Zhang comes from a science background, with a Master's in Physics and is currently working as a school teacher in London. He has concurrently pursued photography, spending time during university as a darkroom assistant, and has had work featured by Autograph, Chan Magazine and in Don’t Call Me Oriental’s Year of the Ox exhibition.
While my work continues to explore a wide variety of subjects, much of my recent focus has been on Asian communities in London and the UK, which interconnects with my own personal examinations into my Chinese heritage. I grew up in predominantly white areas of London, and this spurred me to actively look into growing Asian groups in London at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the time since these newfound connections have continued to grow into a thriving network for the young generation of British-East Asians and increasingly become an important factor in my photographic practice. My photography is not prescriptive by nature, and I have prioritised my work volunteering and interacting with the community while letting my photography be an incidental element of this.
Noel Zhang, Untitled, 2021 – ongoing
Photography, various dimensions
The body of works is part of an ongoing untitled series taken over two years at Hackney Chinese Community Services (HCCS), an organisation that serves the local South-East and East Asian community. The centre usually serves as a social space providing lunch and daily activities, as well as a variety of other services such as advocacy and mental health support. Event celebrations such as Lunar New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival in Hackney are hosted annually at HCCS.