American-born actor turned Chinese movie star, Jonathan Kos-Read is our story of the day. “I play white guys in Chinese movies”, he says—and television shows, too. Going by Cao Cao on the mainland, the Los Angeles native relocated in the late 1990s to teach English. With a flare for acting and ability to convincingly speak Mandarin, Jonathan started an unlikely career in Asian cinema. Financial Times profiled Cao Cao in January of this year as did National Public Radio in February 2011.
Jonathan is a pretty good photographer, too. “I shoot actresses and actors on our sets”, he says. “Between films, to relax, I shoot friends, models, and street photography. I never shoot for money. Acting is an artistic job. I betray it for a paycheck. So I keep this part of my artistic life pure”. His LensCulture interview is an insightful look into his photographic lifestyle.