Exhibition on view from October 6 - 31 at Brooklyn Film Camera.
This exhibition was organized by Asian Archives and made possible by our wonderful sponsors. It was curated by William Oh, Sissi Lu, and Jonathan Bach.
Brooklyn Film Camera
We are arguably in the most interconnected period in history and yet, it is a moment in time that is still plagued by prejudice. In 2020, we saw a terrifying rise of violence towards Asian people in the US. During this uncertain and painful period, we knew that we had to take ownership of our narratives and share our stories. This physical and digital exhibition is our response and our pursuit for change. This is a story of vulnerability.
Here, we have collected work and stories from Asian photographers from around the United States. A photographer’s work is often a reflection of things they hold dear, the things that occupy their minds and lives and so, acts as a mirror to the self. We hope the viewer can enter this space and not only see the work and the artist, but also find something in it all that looks a little like themselves. By doing so, we hope to close the distance between artist and viewer—between them and us—and find that though we may not be the same, we are also not so different.
A photo from his book, Where did all the flowers go? (2021).
As Asian Americans are targeted for violence during the pandemic in the United States, the sentiment that we are viewed as the “Other” is overwhelmingly prevalent; cementing the notion that our Asian bodies do not belong in this country. As part of the Asian diaspora, Asian Americans exist between the in-betweens of our dual identities, connected to two different lands. Where do we truly belong? Where do we call home?
"Where We Call Home" is a photographic series documenting Asian Americans in their homes, depicting the ways one keeps ties to their cultural background and forms their own cultural identity. These portraits centered around “home” reveal the connection between the spaces we reside in, to the idea of belongingness within a homeland. Portraits of these individuals were taken in the intimacy of their homes, as the sitter and I collaborated in depicting the significance of the environment and how they honor their Asian heritage. The cultural connections depicted in the photographs through food, decor, rituals, and language demonstrates the ways we as Asian Americans carve out our own space unique to our transnational identity within a country that treats us as perpetual foreigners. Most importantly, the photos represent the resiliency and beauty of the Asian American community despite the hardships we have faced thus far.
Tianna Lee Rodriguez (@salsita.panchita), a photographer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York, shot for a project led by Sharon Martinez (@cherthismoment) to highlight women filmmakers and creatives in the Santa Barbara area in 2019. Shot at the San Marcos Foothills in Santa Barbara, CA, a location which were protected and preserved by Chumash elders and the Foothills Forever organization in proceeding years after this photo was taken when almost purchased to be destroyed to build mansions by a private company.
San Francisco, CA (2020)
This photo was taken in Boulder, Colorado, sometime in December 2020, during the height of the pandemic. We had gone through a rough period of lockdowns, uncertainty, tragic mental breakdown, all of which were direct consequences of something perceived as a very real threat or fabrication by leaders of the free world.
While living in Las Vegas, I decided to abandon what most people felt as worrisome, instead to think more about what kind of photography I could produce during this period of suffering. I dreamt about the effects of winter had on me during my youth while living in Colorado. I packed my cameras and headed to Boulder, a small town about 30 minutes northwest of Denver.
Flatirons is the actual name of this popular landscape. In the past, while I spent I lot of time in Boulder, I always knew that these mountainous landscapes were a natural wonder. It was an early winter morning when I shot this. The colors of the sky was surreal and the moon looked intense with its illuminating glow that combined with the Flatirons, I felt transported to an extraordinary place at that exact time. I'm so glad I got to see the Flatirons the way I did. It made me realize how good it can feel to exercise my imagination. Furthermore, having traveled to make photos in Colorado, I know from experience that winters will have a soothing affect on my creativity.
I recently made my way to Norway past the Arctic Circle and I spent some time with the Sami people. They're an indigenous folk that wear very colorful clothing, herd reindeer for income, and live from a culture derived from Mongolia before the Ice Age. This is a photo of the tribe leader feeding the adolescent reindeer in his backyard pen.
Waiting in the Wings is taken from my 3-year-long project "Ballet on Film." The series follows a Honolulu ballet school through pre-pandemic performances to virtual and outdoor classes during lockdown, ending with a triumphant return to the stage for their 10th anniversary.
This photograph is part of a series to show creativity and play through the simple act of getting dressed. Clothing is such a unique form of self-expression and I wanted to find new ways to combine and layer pieces. We started with a simple base and kept adding elements to form a couple of different outfits.
This photograph was taken during the first AAPI Heritage Parade in NYC in 2022.
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