Arien Chang Castan Havana, Cuba | 1979
Arien Chang is a self-taught photographer with an imagery that has intimately portrayed daily life in Cuba in urban and rural settings. Chang's photography shows his fascination and need to record the complexities of his surroundings. He has traveled throughout his country in search of individuals and characters related to the cultural landscape he wishes to document.
Chang's work can be placed among a generation of photographers emerging from a distinctly Cuban tradition of documentary photography that combines the revolutionary epic, the devastating economic crisis brought on by the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and more recently, the development of an international audience eager for a glimpse of his country. The focus of Chang's work shifts, however, to the individual stories, underworlds, and personal expressions that make up the social and cultural fabric of Cuban life. His photography focuses in areas within Cuban society that are generally ignored in Cuban documentary photography. Themes like the rodeo, gay culture and bodybuilding are reflected in his work.
Chang has shown his work all over the world in solo and group exhibitions sharing exhibitions with photographers such as Stephen Dupone, Alan Harvey, Alex Webb, Yuri Kazyred, James Nachtwey and Francesco Zizola. He has collaborated with the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and National Geographic and has taught workshops to students from CalPoly, San Jose State University and NYU. He also received several prizes and awards such as the scholarship Red Gate Residency in China, and Habana Cultura, both in 2013. His photos have been published in several magazines, such as: Take Magazine (Australia, 2013), Slanted: Cuba, The New Generation (Germany, 2013), National Geographic (USA, 2014), Arte Cubano (Cuba, 2014), Burn Magazine - Magnum (2015), Smithsonian Journeys (2016) together with photographers of Magnum Photos Agency, and ART OnCuba Magazine (Cuba, 2018).
Chang’s work is part of collections in Spain, Bolivia, Germany, Denmark, Mexico, Brazil, China and The Unites States.
He lives and works in New York City.
A base de viandasArien Chang Castan January 19 - February 27, 2022Thomas Nickles Project is pleased to present Arien Chang Castan's A base de viandas Series, which celebrates the art of body building in Cuba. In a country where scarcity is the norm, these portraits of hyper-muscled, half-naked men posing for the camera contain a certain narrative of the improbable. In...