Sheila Zhao | Komorebi

[T]his series is a body of personal work that I have been photographing since 2011. These pictures result from moments experienced, observed, and reinterpreted. They are my dialogue with the spaces in China that I live in and travel to, as well as with the people that I encounter there.

The pictures are a projection of myself. Komorebi, my working title for this series, means sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees. In the exciting and unpredictable environment that I live in, these pictures are seconds of filtered light that I tried to catch.

Q&A with Sheila Zhao

Photography is…

Madness. It’s intoxicating, deceptive, emotionally taxing, and almost impossible to master or perfect. Practitioners of photography must also be mad to some degree or another.

Photography and writing…

… are two peas in the same pod. Both seem so simple to the uninitiated, but are in actuality huge labors of love.

Who left the biggest impression on you?

Anyone who carries out an act of kindness without expectations.

Tell us a little about yourself

Growing up, I’ve always been fond of the visual arts. I took art classes, but never photography because I thought it was out of my league. Even so, one of my favorite activities to kill boredom was to rummage through old copies of National Geographic that my Grandfather kept. When I had to decide my area of concentration in my university journalism school, I chose public relations, a field as distant to photography as possible. And so, many years later, here I am. The universe has a good sense of humour.

Sheila Zhao ( is a photographer based in between Shanghai and Beijing, China. She has worked on documentary and reporting projects around Asia.



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