February 11, 2016
All-new InFrame ft. physician-turned-photographer Zun Lee
Meet the visual storyteller documenting everyday African-American life
Toronto, ON — February 11, 2016 — In honor of Black History Month, online portfolio platform Format presents the fourth episode of its online documentary series InFrame featuring visual storyteller Zun Lee.
The award-winning photographer, who doubles as a physician and healthcare executive, was originally gifted a camera by a friend in 2009 to help relieve work-related stress. He quickly realized his interest in photography was more rooted in storytelling than image-making.
Fast forward seven years: his exacting eye and innate instinct for capturing intimate moments have garnered attention from The New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker, Magnum Foundation and galleries around the world.
A global citizen, Lee was born and raised in Germany, has lived in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago, and currently calls Toronto home. “Home”, however, has always been a fluid construct for the nomad—not tied to a physical space nor biological family, but instead created from experience and emotional responses.
After discovering in his late thirties that his biological father is Black, he began seeking out these points of connection through documenting African-American fathers and their relationships with their children. This work evolved into Father Figure, a project that attempts to dispel widely-held public opinion and popular media portrayals of Black males. While Lee’s own story of identity and self-discovery is impossible to separate from the series, Father Figure is more so an exploration of the loving “fathers” he had in his life growing up, instead of the ones he did not.
His latest project Fade Resistance is a growing collection of thousands of found Polaroid photographs that depict unedited Black family life. Gathered over a period of three years, amidst shooting Father Figure, the lost and discarded snapshots—spanning the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s—illustrate universal everyday life moments. Showcasing how Black people saw themselves without an external gaze, the project seeks to offer a contemporary counter-narrative to mainstream distortion and erasure, again defying stereotypical depictions of African-Americans. Over eight hundred images, only about 25 percent of Lee's total archive, are currently on display at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto until February 28, 2016.
In this episode of InFrame, filmmaker Bas Berkhout explores the streets of NYC with Lee, capturing new and familiar faces along the way. Visit Format Magazine or Vimeo to hear Lee speak about his journey, the motivations that drive him to create and his exploration of identity.
InFrame is an online documentary series produced by Format.com and Bas Berkhout. Each video that makes up the collection of intimate shorts follows a talented creative individual from the Format community, profiling their unique path to success. From humble beginnings to unforgettable triumphs, InFrame gets to the heart of the person behind the professional. format.com/magazine/inframe
About Bas Berkhout
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Bas Berkhout is an award-winning filmmaker and producer with over 12 years of worldwide experience in the field of commercial and documentary filmmaking. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Berkhout has a proven track record with producing viral online content. In 2012, he co-founded the storytelling film series Like Knows Like profiling creatives and entrepreneurs famous in the digital world, and became a Vimeo Staff Pick three times within one year. Since, he has worked with partners and clients including Vimeo, CreativeMornings, Samsung, ING Insurance, ASICS Europe and now, Format. basberkhout.nl
Format makes it easy to build a professional portfolio website—without learning to code. Tens of thousands of creative professionals in over 190 countries use the platform to beautifully showcase their work, attract clients and grow their careers. Founded in 2010 in Toronto, Canada, Format is a self-funded company. format.com
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For images, additional information and/or interview requests, contact:
PR Manager, Format