Abandoned Namib Desert #VIII, 1997
8 x 10 inch, gelatin silver photograph, on fiber-based paper
Signed, titled, numbered on verso by pencil
Elaine Ling (1946-2016) immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in the 1950s. She was a family physician but pursued passionately on the side, a life-long career as a photographer, traveled extensively to remote places creating a vast body of documentary work. She had four monographs published and her work is collected in museums in Canada and worldwide.
The Hero and the Heroine
written by Holly Lee
In one portrait, Elaine Ling, the Hong Kong born Canadian photographer stood beside a Mongolian general holding the same twelve foot spear with the intimidating warrior. She appeared so tiny beside this colossal figure, measuring merely up to his waist. Yet within this woman’s petite physique she possessed immense spirit, great strength and a beautiful soul. During her life-long travels to many remote parts of the world, she brought back picture after picture of extraordinary beauty of the otherwise little visited lands. Places where ancient monolithic stones and sculptures still stand, houses once lived, occupied now only by desert sand, sites where baobabs reside peacefully with human neighbours and treated as great friends. Her photographs are not just aesthetic still-lifes, they tell us stories. Sometimes through her subtle journalistic approach we are able to peep into the profuse culture and spiritual lives of other peoples - the Cubans, Burmese, Mongolians and Tibetans.
To the richness of her large format black and whites, to the serenity of the natural, or cultural monumental landscapes and the footprints of the peoples she so tirelessly pursued and embraced, we salute her outstanding achievement.