Photographer Dean Wong captures life in Seattle's Chinatown-International District

Dean Wong has been photographing Seattle's International District for 40 years. His name is a staple in the community.

SEATTLE - Dean Wong has been photographing Seattle’s International District for 40 years. His name is a staple in the community.

“The way I work I rarely have people look in the camera,” said Wong. “I’m trying to catch them unaware and in an unguarded moment.”

Wong searches to photograph something a little more real.

“Something that preserves all those beautiful things about being human,” said Wong.

But for Wong, his work serves as a distraction away from real life. He visits Canton Alley to remember the two people he misses the most:

His wife Janice Ito passed away from cancer after 22 years of marriage together.  The other, his best friend Donnie Chin who was shot and killed two months before she died. His murder has yet to be solved by police.

“I have always replayed in my mind, hearing news that he may have been killed,” said Wong.

In 1968, Dean and Donnie formed the International District Emergency center. The two often beat paramedics and officers to scenes where they could help with first aid.

“This is where I learned how to be a community activist. This is where I learned to be proud to be Asian American,” said Wong. “This is where I learned the value of community.”

You can find Wong photographing the streets of Chinatown in pursuit of art, and his own healing.

“And coming away with that just fraction of a second that is just a slice of life, that tells you how people live and what they’re all about,” said Wong.

No matter how many times this neighborhood has broken his heart, it is still his home.

To see more of his photography, you can purchase his book here

Copyright 2016 KING


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