Zun Lee is a self-taught photographer and visual storyteller currently based out of Toronto, Canada, although he was born in Germany and has since lived in several parts of the USA. Because of his nomadic lifestyle and a strained household during his childhood, “home” has always been a fluid construct for Lee—not tied to a physical space nor biological family, but instead created from experience and emotional responses. Lee, who trained as a physician, initially picked up photography as a way to relieve stress from his job. However, he quickly realized his interest in photography was more rooted in storytelling than image-making.
Seeking out these points of connection is a large part of Lee’s 2013 project, Father Figure, in which he photographs African-American families in attempts to dispel widely-held public opinion and popular media portrayal of black male stereotypes. Both this project and his ongoing project Fade Resistance have received attention and recognition from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Magnum Foundation, among others.
While Zun Lee’s own story of identity and self-discovery is impossible to separate from Father Figure, this project is more so an exploration of the loving “fathers” he had in his life growing up, instead of the ones he did not.