Nelson Chan was born in New Jersey to immigrant parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan and has spent most of his life between the States and Hong Kong. Having grown up on two continents with unique cultures, this immigrant experience has influenced the majority of his work. 

He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where he received his BFA and a graduate of the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, where he received his MFA. Nelson is a co-founder of TIS books, an independent publishing house that concentrates on limited edition photobooks. He was the production manager at Aperture Foundation from 2016 - 2019 and has most recently taken an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts.