Finding Beauty in Authenticity: The Work of Tommy Lei

Finding Beauty in Authenticity: The Work of Tommy Lei

Tommy Lei is a lens-based artist and fine art photographer who has exhibited and published fine modern art photography over the last several years. His journey in photography is deeply rooted in his upbringing in Hong Kong and his experiences as an immigrant in America during his adolescence. These early life encounters have significantly shaped Lei's perspective towards photography, instilling in him a profound appreciation for finding beauty in all aspects of life and capturing moments authentically. For Lei, the creative act of photography provides solace, offering a moment of stillness and introspection amidst the chaos of the world. It's a meditative experience, reminding him to live in the present moment and approach his craft with mindfulness and authenticity.


Tommy Lei in the Studio


His approach to photography reflects his deep connection with the world around him. Whether exploring his own neighborhood or embarking on travels worldwide, Lei's lens captures life as it is, elevating everyday moments into extraordinary glimpses of human experience. In a recent interview with S7CAG, Lei described himself as a 'chameleon photographer,' adept at blending into surroundings and capturing moments naturally, without manipulation. He gravitates towards scenes that evoke elements of insecurity, isolation, and vulnerability—a subtle sense of uncertainty underscored by a hint of hope. Lei's keen eye for detail is evident in his meticulous curation of scenes; even amidst the busiest environments, he intuitively removes visual clutter to distill the essence of a moment. His photographs emanate a serene ambiance, characterized by a subtle sense of absence—an invitation for viewers to contemplate the underlying emotions and narratives within each frame.


Tommy Lei Behind the Camera


Tommy Lei prefers singular shooting, capturing one moment at a time by treating each shot as if it were a cinematic scene. Throughout his photography career, he has refined his photography process to the point where he now patiently waits for the right scene to appear. In an almost-in-the-moment editing process that stems from years of experience behind the camera, he has developed a trusting connection with what Lei describes as "the intrinsic reaction that prompts [him] to raise the camera and capture the right moment." Lei further describes his photography as a constant practice of staying in the present moment and capturing life without pretending or adding fantasy. In his photos, Lei aims for the artwork to evoke feelings of comfort, familiarity, and coming home to oneself, inviting viewers to engage with the emotions conveyed in his work while also leaving room for interpretation. Lei also strives to create a sense of calm, harmony, and balance in his compositions. Ultimately, he emphasizes the impact of tangible prints and the stories and emotions they convey.


Art Exhibition by Tommy Lei


S7CAG invites you to view Tommy Lei’s artwork in our online gallery as well as in person. While the online gallery contains a larger selection of artworks, a portion of Lei’s collection is on exhibition at Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena (693 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105). Guests can view the artwork daily from 7 am to 5 pm. The in-person art exhibition runs until mid-April 2024. Curatorial consultations are available upon request. Please contact Esteban ( for any inquiries.