With high intentions to go fishing, Pok Chi Lau has traveled to 36 countries, and he has ended up with more photographs than fish at the end of his fishing poles. Through the years, he has come to the realization that in the history of China, stretching from around 1700 to 1950, her poor coastal fishing villagers experienced some of the first Diasporas to different parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia.
He was born in British Hong Kong in 1950. Since 1967, Pok Chi Lau 劉博智, has been a documentary photographer. His work on migration focuses on the Chinese Diaspora in the Americas, Cuba, and Malaysia and now Myanmar. For a decade, he also documented the Diaspora within China, where rural peasants/migrants from all over China moved to seek factory work in coastal Made-in-China regions.
Pok Chi Lau is Professor Emeritus of PhotoMedia in the Department of Design at the University of Kansas, which has provided him with numerous international research opportunities, and through which his work has been exhibited and published broadly. Besides his work as a documentary photographer, Lau’s work as a poet and essayist has led him to collaborate with professionals in East Asian studies, journalism, ethnic studies, anthropology and social science.