Skip to Content

Photographer Angela Chen Joins the Stamps School Faculty

Angela Chen has been selected as a new assistant professor at the Stamps School, beginning in the Fall 2024 semester. Chen is a photo-based artist whose work is rooted in interdisciplinary approaches to the medium, a commitment to environmental and social justice, and unfolding Asian diasporic experiences. Most recently, Chen worked at Rice University as a photography lecturer, teaching a wide range of courses, from photo bookmaking to the art of attention. She said she was drawn to Stamps because of its unique interdisciplinary curriculum. 

a woman looking up with sunflowers behind her
There are few places where students’ creative impulses are honored in the way that they are at Stamps,” said Chen. Students have the agency to pursue their own areas of interest, to make connections between fields of study, and to think of their practice broadly while not compromising depth of method. It was exciting to hear that Stamps fosters and facilitates an expansive way of thinking about photography and all the disciplines.”

Chen grew up in the ethnoburbs of Los Angeles, the child of Taiwanese immigrants who ran an after school tutoring center where she worked from a young age. While helping her mother run the school, she began taking photography classes at a local community college, finding the color darkroom a refuge and a place for privacy and meditation.” Chen eventually earned her BA in television, film, and media studies from California State University, Los Angeles, and her MFA in Photography from the Yale School of Art.


After graduate school, Chen led new community-oriented initiatives in the Office of the Dean at the Yale School of Art, spearheading several inaugural fellowships for MFA students and alumni to teach art to under-resourced high school students. Chen has exhibited across the country; most recently, her work Tan Hua, Tangerines,Tatsoi, a photographic project that explores immigrant gardening practices in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, was exhibited at the Houston Climate Justice Museum and Cultural Center. Her creative practice reflects her upbringing. 

My work celebrates what I call the aesthetics of immigrant resourcefulness,” said Chen. Rather than viewing resourcefulness through the lens of economic limitation, I am interested in thinking about immigrant resourcefulness as a way of being ecological’ — making do as sustainable practice.”

Patchy Anthropocenes 2ndfl

That interest in sustainability informs much of her current work. While in Houston, she has documented the impacts of capitalism and the oil and gas industry on Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel. Chen’s recent large-scale photo-textile Patchy Anthropocenes (Buffalo Bayou)” — printed on recycled muslin dyed with acorns — served as a visual anchor to the Moody Center for the Arts’ Moody Project Wall.” The Project Wall series fosters campus and community engagement between Houston-based artists and Rice University students. In spring 2024, as part of the project, Chen led a collaborative, socially-engaged art class called Practices of Attention, an exploration of how close-looking and thoughtful observation can open avenues of relating to the world that are rooted in care and mutual sustainability. The project is an encapsulation of how she views the positive impact that photography can have when used as a tool for strengthening our relationship to place and community. 

The main reason I find teaching photography so meaningful is that photos play a huge role in our daily lives,” said Chen. We encounter photographs through social media and advertising, but the way these photographs are working on us doesn’t always encourage social life, it can be an insular activity that remains very much virtual. I’m interested in using photography as an excuse to get people outside and to engage with the world they are living in.”