Few portraits evoke so vividly the essence of an 'Asian era' as Russel's Jackie Chan. Dynamic, spontaneous, self-confident and agile, the image is a declaration of promise and possibilities of Asia in the early 1990s, where the tenacious, the adventurous and the talented could be anything they wanted to be and thereby they made their own history. With it, Russel created not only a fabulous time-capsule but also contributed a crucial understanding of the 'Asian values' as propagated by the media and various politicians. Most notably, the core of the 'Asian vales' is integral to the success of the 'Four little dragons' namely: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan according to propaganda and along with it is an overly-simplification and generalization of the impact of the Confucius ethics on the socio-economic realm in the larger East Asian culture.
As a hugely successful celebrity photographer, Russel owns a large and enviable resource of images for the famous and even more famous. In his attempt to cross over to Fine Photography, it is no wonder that Russel would look to his previous works for inspiration and also as a way to address his beginning as a photographer in the most sincere manner. The choice of Jackie is not a difficult one even if it is not the most obvious. Many has coined him as the 'only superstar' in Asia, Jackie Chan is arguably the first who has entered into the high and mighty Hollywood world of film and entertainment in a manner grander than any of his Asian peers before, playing leading role in films in stead of just yet another Chinese Kong-Fu character or a forgettable supporting role in the Hollywood movies. Perhaps Russel, in his choice of an iconic image which so well surmised his career of famed portraitures, has unwittingly commented on an era that is as optimistic and promising as it is glitzy and glamorous, befitting the golden age of 'The Hollywood of Asia' - Hong Kong.
There is a definite pop feel to the work that is reminiscent of Andy Warhol's Judith Green or Chairman Mao with which the public personas of the photographed subjects mingled with their status of celebrity effectively representing a style of living that is borne out of a cohesive value system. It is a ready-made icon that is almost a parody of Asia to most, particularly to an international (Western) audience; in the adoption of Jackie Chan's image, Russel incisively exposed the power of the media in the creation, canonization and commodification of personas for the purpose of personas for collective absorption, in this aspect, Jackie's image relives the best characteristic of the pop legacy, which indeed it was the furnace that forged Pop.