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Early in his career, Shya was invited by Wong Kar-wai to serve as an on-set stills photographer for films including Happy Together and In the Mood for Love. Granted rare access to the renowned director’s inner circle, over the years Shya captured poignant behind-the-scenes portraits of iconic actors such as Tony Leung, Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, and Gong Li in unguarded moments between takes. These intimate images form the heart of Solace, interspersed with the best of Shya’s commercial shoots, as well as private snapshots of nature and cityscapes encountered on his travels. The resulting collection is a true testament to Shya’s ability as an eloquent storyteller and deeply introspective observer.

Hong Kong has long captured the West’s imagination as an enigmatic Other with dazzling neon lights and a chaotic electric pulse. However, in Solace, Shya reveals a more personal and meditative Hong Kong. Time slows, inviting the viewer to explore the subtleties of interpersonal chemistries from a distance in ephemeral, quiet moments that showcase Shya’s sensitive and intuitive approach toward his subjects. A nostalgic, dreamlike atmosphere emerges in his expired and exposed film, punctuated by flashes of vibrant color.

In the words of William Chang, one of Wong Kar-wai’s most important collaborators, Solace is a “moving achievement that deftly captures ephemeral postures and fleeting snippets in time.”