My London: Marcella Chan – Fine Art Photographer

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Marcella Chan is a London-based photographer, Chan’s work centers around themes of discovery and exploring dual identity and nostalgia through personal experiences.

Her Grandfather, Po Hing, arrived in England by ship in 1959, where he worked in a restaurant in London, before opening several restaurants in Weymouth. Bringing over his family in 1972, they set up a takeaway which Chan’s parents (Kwai Lan and Hang Yan) continued to run before opening their own in Somerset. Food was integral to Chan’s childhood and family history and has become a tool to explore her personal identity.

We caught up with Marcella for the latest in our ‘My London’ series.


Favourite neighbourhood:

Bow, it’s the place I know the best since moving to London. I can walk to Victoria park or grab something to eat on Roman Road – there’s so much greenery in the area too.


Favourite place for brunch:

Dulce Cafe by Whitechapel Gallery, whenever my good friend Emily comes over for a visit we always make time for brunch here, it’s become a tradition now.


Best coffee in London:

I like to drink sweet coffee, so I’m always in favour of Vietnamese coffee when it’s on the menu. Sông Quê Café near Hoxton Overground has great food and coffee!


Favourite gallery or museum:

Tate Modern has always been a favourite of mine. There’s always something new to do and see. If I want to see the views of London I go up to the viewing platform and can stay there for hours. My art collective and I like to go to the Tate Late events at the end of the month as well.


Tell us a secret:

I like to have sauce on my food, so I carry sachets of ketchup around in my bag just incase.


Favourite place to shop:

I really like going to shops that have no clear indication of what they sell inside, somewhere that has a little bit of everything! I especially like collecting kitchen equipment. London holds so many cultures and cuisines that there’s a kitchen tool for just about anything you’d want to make, I find it so fascinating. I have accumulated all sorts of odd kitchen finds over the years. I’ll find a use for my Taiyaki pan one day!


Favourite place to find inspiration:

London’s Chinatown, I enjoy the contrast between the places and businesses that have been there for decades, and those that have just opened their doors. The difference between branding and aesthetic has created a sort of colourful visual identity that only Chinatown has and I love it. I’ve always found it comforting that there are still places in the area from my childhood but I can also try the new trendy foods from Asia as well.


Best London destination for a date:

I’ve always loved visiting the Aquarium and going to one of their late night events is a really cool first activity, plus you can always distracted by the fish!


Favourite park:

Richmond Park is beautiful. My good friend Selina, who works there, took me on a tour from Pembroke Lodge to Isabella Plantation and it was so tranquil. I could sit down and stare out into the pond for hours.


Favourite food market:

I really like Kerb food markets, especially the one by St Katherine’s Docks. I think the traders always offer a variety of great food and when you pair it with a sunny day, it’s very picturesque.


Your sanctuary in the city:

It used to be the Japan Centre ceramics store on Shaftesbury Avenue, there were rarely any people sitting there. After a busy session buying groceries in Chinatown London, I’d go there, grab a drink and have a sit down. Since it closed this year I’m still on the look out for a new place!


What inspires you?

Good lighting will always inspire me to pick up my camera and snap away. If it’s a particularly sunny day, the light will hit my white cupboard for about 1 hour between 11-12pm. It makes great lighting for the still life images I’m making for my upcoming exhibition in Chinatown this Summer.


This season I’m loving:

Korean fried chicken, Lychee bubble tea and Bon Appétit’s test kitchen YouTube channel.


‘CONTEMPLATE’ by Marcella Chan will run from Tuesday 9th – Sunday 14th July 2019 at the China Exchange, Chinatown London

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