"I have a complicated relationship with my culture, as probably all immigrants do."

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What does it mean to you to be a part of our mission and community?

The more API stories I see and hear the more my own experiences become defined and expand. I love seeing my memories grow and change as I form connections with the community. 

Tell me about growing up? Where did you grow up?

I spent my early years in Taipei, Taiwan, until I started elementary school. My family moved to Toronto, Canada when I was five and then again to San Jose, California when I was in middle school. We moved for better work and education opportunities, but at the cost of having a stable community and being close to family. 

What is your earliest memory interacting with a camera or creating a photograph?

My uncle is an amateur bird photographer and he lent me one of his old Nikon dSLR bodies. Before that I was taking snapshots with some small digital point-and-shoots. Eventually I got my own DSLR and have been indulging in my need to preserve things since then. I switched to film in the last few years—it's so tactile and feels nostalgic to me, even though I grew up in the digital age.  

What is your favorite memory from childhood?

My family visited Taipei every couple of years, and I loved when my grandpa took me and my brother out. I loved the energy of city life compared to suburbia. He took us to bookstores and bought me stationary and art supplies, which I used to draw and write stories. 

Tell me about yourself. What are some important things happening in your life right now?

I spent a lot of time alone when I was growing up, reading and drawing and writing. In the past few years I've been trying to rediscover those creative pastimes and take a more playful approach to my day-to-day. This has led to me pursuing a childhood dream of mine, which was to become a writer. I started learning and writing more, and I just started a graduate program at University of San Francisco. I hope this can be another avenue for me to tell the stories from my generation and my family. 

What does home mean to you?

Home to me is somewhere where I can be at peace to do the things I love—photography, fashion, reading, writing—and be in a space surrounded by others doing the same. I like the idea of coexisting physically but having freedom to wander in our own internal worlds. 

What do you do?

At my day job I'm a software engineer working on backend streaming systems. I studied Molecular Biology during my undergrad and see a lot of connections between biological systems, computer systems, and infinite others in our world. I hope to keep contributing to them and figuring out where I can fit in. 

Tell me about your culture.

I come from a family of immigrants. My grandparents on both sides escaped from China during the war and settled in Taiwan. My parents both grew up in Taiwan and then moved our family to Canada, then the United States. It took a long time of trying to fit in in America before I started to get more in touch with my Canadian and Taiwanese sides. 

What’s your relationship with it?

I have a complicated relationship with my culture, as probably all immigrants do. I don't feel like I fit in perfectly anywhere, so the best I can do is take from all of them the pieces I enjoy and identify with, and hope to create something new from it. 

What inspires you?

I like thinking about the subtleties and implied stories within our everyday lives. There's endless ways to find the bottom story and turn it into something important. Fashion and clothing inspire me a lot—different combinations of fabric, textures, colors, light that create a specific form. Finding patterns or shapes in our mundane lives, in the people we're surrounded by, helps me find that first thread of inspiration, and there are always questions there. 

What is your favorite art you made? Why?

It's been so rewarding being able to collaborate with other creatives and shoot with a solid team. However, my favorite things I've made is probably art that is more personal to me and has sentimental value. After I got my medium format camera, I visited Taiwan and took portraits of my 103-year old grandpa with Lomo 800. He posed and everything! I'm so happy I was able to contribute to his legacy in a way that was unique to me. He passed away recently so those images have grown even more precious. 

What does being an artist mean to you?

I've honestly never thought of myself as an artist or creative in a legitimate sense. I'm trying to change the way I think of myself and in the process redefine what that means to me. A huge part of it is being able to create and share with others, and find connection through the intimacy of sharing in a safe space. Having other people see my work and interpret it according to their experiences really expands what I imagine is possible, and allows me to be part of something bigger than myself.


Interested in learning more about the people in this piece? Check out their member bio by clicking on their name below.

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