Character Reference

Virginia Mak


Fostered through her deep-rooted fascination with fictional characters, Virginia Mak infuses her photographic work with poetic references to icons from classic literature, folklore, and mythology. By staging scenarios around illustrious storylines and characters, Mak aims to re-interpret familiar narratives. Manifest in her evocative work are contemporary allusions to characters from sources such as Jane Austin’s novel Persuasion, the legend of Daphne and Apollo, Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art and Virginia Woolf’s self-image from her personal diary and letters. Mak’s impressionistic aesthetic simultaneously renders her subjects anonymous: the half-turned back, the undisclosed face, and the abstracted environment invite the viewer to step into the consciousness of each protagonist.

A Toronto-based photographer, Mak was born in Hong Kong and graduated with a philosophy degree from the University of Calgary. She later studied photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She is a recipient of various grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work has been featured and reviewed by the Calgary Herald, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail, and published in magazines such as Prefix Photo and PhotoLife. Mak’s photographs are found in public and private collections in North America and Hong Kong.