Upcoming Show...

I'm starting to prepare for my upcoming Spring 2018 show at Village West Gallery. I still can't believe it's happening; I'm a squirrel-er, I rarely display or show my work. I'm both terrified and honored.

secaucus football, one of my first assignments

secaucus football, one of my first assignments

I've very slowly begun sifting through thousands of images, most of them from my time as an intern for The Jersey Journal.

Sometimes I miss the 10 hour night shifts, photographing everything from four alarm fires to story time. It was a daily grind, five assignments a day, driving from kearny to bayonne to union city, eating fast food while driving with my knees. Best decision I ever made.

Vangile

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                                                                   vangile in yongma land, south korea

                                                                   vangile in yongma land, south korea

I met so many incredible women in South Korea.

Free, adventure-loving, outgoing, vibrant. South Korea is the homeland of my parents--while it is foreign I feel it in my blood, I understand the language and to some extent, the culture.

I think about my parents immigrating to America and I cannot imagine doing the same. How terrifying and how brave.

My cousin’s water broke at 31 weeks. They’re feeding her antibiotics and steroids; the doctors are hoping she’ll make it to 34 weeks without giving birth.

I’m spending all my time at the hospital with her, translating doctor conversations and making sure she doesn’t go stir crazy from the monotony. Also, taking pictures.

babysitting joshua and theo

I was there when Theodore (5), was born. I was 16 when they ushered me into the hospital room. My aunt didn’t speak English and I needed to translate for the doctors. 

I’ve photographed these boys since they were babies. It’s crazy how fast they’re growing up.

olympus xa2 // snapshots

my cousin in the kitchen of her convenience store frying chicken

my cousin in the kitchen of her convenience store frying chicken

my tired father behind my mother behind a lotto machine behind a dirty plastic wall

my tired father behind my mother behind a lotto machine behind a dirty plastic wall

batman smoking and my mother making sure I get to my car safely

batman smoking and my mother making sure I get to my car safely

my father smoking in the shadows of the empty seafood restaurant

my father smoking in the shadows of the empty seafood restaurant

theodore hanging off my father’s leg because he wants to go home

theodore hanging off my father’s leg because he wants to go home

the place my aunt was murdered

the place my aunt was murdered

 

I’ve been spending a lot of time at my parent’s convenience store. It’s in the heart of the east end, and they’ve been there for a little over a decade now. A lot of change has come to the area, for the better? who knows yet. I owe everything to the neighborhood—my education, my shelter—It has clothed and fed me. My parents tell me to thank it every time I turn to go home. I do. Thank you.

I remember being eight years old, sitting in a circle at school. One by one, we had to tell our class what our parent’s ‘did’. Doctor. Lawyer, engineer, nurse, then me, me who has photographs of herself as a child next to racks of Playboys, riding Princess Jasmine-themed bikes down aisles, running tickets through the lotto machine, me, me who didn’t know what to say, me who replied, my mom is a cashier so fast the words blurred together.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself never to be ashamed.

vistaquest 1015

batman in front of my parent’s store in newport news

batman in front of my parent’s store in newport news

 

 

I have a Vistaquest 1015 keychain camera.

 

I got it years ago off of Flickr for 40 dollars from a professor somewhere in the Midwest. It was always with me, either in my pocket or dangling from my ring finger. I don’t even know how many photographs I’ve taken with it, thousands probably. 

 

It’s a mess to work with. The button sticks, to see anything on the tiny screen I have to press my nail against the surface–I have to take the AAA battery in and out between shots. But I loved it.

 

It’s been months since I’ve used it.

 

I snapped a photograph recently just to see if it still worked. It’s gone through a lot-dropped into the sand at VA beach, into mud at Niagara Falls, almost trampled on too many times to count, forgotten and lost and then found.

 

It does.