Chan Chao was born in Kalemyo, Burma in 1966. He and his family left Burma for the United States in 1978. Nazraeli Press has published three books by Chao: Burma: Something Went Wrong, Letter from PLF and Echo. His Burma portraits were included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.
In the summer of 1996, I found my way to the Thai-Burma border and sought out student activists who had called for democracy in Burma during the 1988 uprising. At the border I visited a rebel camp set-up by an ethnic group called the Karen. There I met and photographed Karen rebels, exiled politicians and students, all of whom were working together to bring an end to the brutal military rule in Burma. A few months later, in an effort to curb insurgencies in the area, the military government overran and torched the camp. I returned to that same border in the summer of 1997 to visit with student activists, and then, in 1998, visited another ethnic group called the Chin, on the India-Burma border.