At an early age, I was fascinated by a box of old photographs that my parents had accumulated over the years. Images from their homeland of Laos; another world. Their daily life so alien to me, never could I imagine growing up as they did, living through such hardships. A world filled with turmoil, yet lives fuller and richer than I could possibly imagine. Photographs of their friends I’d never meet, aunts I never knew, uncles I would never know, and so much more of their lives that is, sadly, only available to me through these few scraps of paper. I find myself staring at these images for hours, trying desperately to place myself in the scenes before me: places my parents often met, the beautiful day of their wedding, the grimy room where I was nursed, the river I almost drowned in, the refugee camp where we all lived in ambivalent anticipation, awaiting our turn to be scattered off to foreign lands for hopes of a better future… a glimpse of a lifetime that once was. I am fortunate to have these photographs. Sadly, with what little there was, the story was incomplete. I yearned for more.
It was not until years later, when I visited my family overseas, that I discovered another small collection of photographs. I was ecstatic. I found myself yet again entranced with these images. The memories they preserved for so many years. The people, the places, the culture. I absorbed it all.
I often wondered whom it was who took these photos. Whenever I inquired, nobody seemed to remember. The name forgotten, but the message lived on.
They are precious. These memories. These photographs.
Since that time, my love for photography grew and grew. I’ve expanded my craft in many directions but none I found as fulfilling as simply capturing life as it unfolds before me.