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Why Chinatown Still Matters

There is one thing we do not see in a compelling 1982 self-portrait by Dean Wong: his face. Taken in Seattle’s Chinatown, the photograph zeroes in on the back of a metal helmet, polished to a mirrorlike finish. In it is reflected a crowd of neighborhood residents — a metaphor for the people and hometown community that have shaped and fascinated Mr. Wong. 


The image appears in Mr. Wong’s new book, “Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown” (Chin Music Press), which centers on Seattle but includes images from other cities, including San Francisco, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia. Juxtaposing photographs with short, anecdotal essays, the book serves as a........

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