Featuring work by: Geloy Concepcion, Amir Hamja, Shuran Huang, Stephanie Mei-Ling, Ian Morton, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Haruka Sakaguchi, Neeta Satam, Arin Yoon
So much of Asian history is written into American history books like an afterthought. Some of the most formative Asian experiences such as the systematic incarceration of Japanese American citizens in internment camps during World War II is either left out or gleaned over. While Chinese laborers built so much of the transcontinental railway, these laborers are omitted from the 1869 photo commemorating the completion of the railroad. 145 years later, photographer Corky Lee recreated the historic photograph with the descendents of the laborers. We can take back some of our histories in commemorating the forgotten, lost and erased.
Many Asians of the diaspora change their names to ones that sound more western, adopting completely new names or making a slight change, in order to assimilate to the norms of mainstream culture. Those who choose to keep their names often suffer mispronunciation or even ridicule. Through this collaboration, nine Asian photographers share the histories, meanings and stories behind our names.
In the journey to feel at home in our Asian American or Pacific Islander identities, we may encounter different versions of ourselves. We asked AAPI photographers, “What is the story of your name? What does it mean to you?” In considering photographers for this project, we did not factor in who has American citizenship or permanent residency status, but rather who calls the U.S. home at this moment.
Arin Yoon’s name was found in a forest in a dream. Shuran Huang’s name was chosen by her mother in an act of agency in the shadow of her family’s disappointment that she had not given birth to a boy during China’s one-child policy initiative. Ian Morton discovered his Korean name, Lim Hae-dong, on a manila folder that contained his adoption files. To Amir Hamja, “This name bears everything I create and it carries the weight of all my existence.”
Originally published by NPR, edited by Ben de la Cruz
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Geloy Concepcion (B. 1992) is a documentary photographer born and raised in Pandacan, Manila, who has intimately documented his new life as an immigrant living in California since 2017. His pictures tell stories of the underdogs, the unrecognized, and the unheard. His work is often an exploration of the streets, the ones that showed him that change plays a part in wanting to remain. His most notable project, titled “Things You Wanted To Say But Never Did,” gained recognition around the world. His works have been exhibited in the United States, Europe, Japan, Singapore, India, Australia, Kosovo, Indonesia and the Philippines. Geloy currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family.
Amir Hamja is a Bangladeshi photographer born and raised in Chittagong. He discovered his passion for photography while studying pharmacy in college. With humanity as the core of his work, his photography juggles between documentary and portrait work. He has worked on documentaries featuring prominent personalities such as Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh (Hasina – A Daughters Tale) before moving to New York on a scholarship to study photography at the International Center of Photography in 2017. Additionally, he won the National award at the Sony World Photography Awards in London the same year. His photographs have been exhibited around the world as part of several group exhibitions. Amir joined the team of the Netflix show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” as an official photographer in 2019. He also served as a creative consultant for Hasan’s latest Netflix show, “The Kings Jester”. Amir has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Guardian, and The Washington Post since 2020. He has been selected as a photography fellow at The New York Times this year and will be working from the New York bureau from June 2023.
Shuran Huang 黃舒然 (she/her) is a Cantonese photographer based in Washington, D.C. Through moments of intimacy, her work focuses on politics, immigration, human rights, diaspora experiences, and interactions in between. Shuran’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Thomson Reuters, National Geographic, The Guardian, The Economist, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Bloomberg News, Netflix, A+E Networks, CBS, etc. Shuran earned her master’s degree in photography from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international journalism. Shuran also serves as an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University. She is an alumna of the Eddie Adams Workshop, the New York Portfolio Review, The International Women’s Media Foundation’s Gwen Ifill Fellowship, and Dow Jones News Fund Digital Media Program. Besides English, she speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, and Korean.
Stephanie Mei-Ling is a Black-American/Taiwanese documentary photographer based between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Through her work she explores such layered issues as the complexity of intersectional identity; elevating the narrative of invisible communities; society’s fetishization of marginalized subcultures; the universality of otherness through a global lens; and the appropriation, re-appropriation and reclaiming of cultural narratives. Her work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Washington Post, NPR, and Vice, among others. She graduated from The University of California at Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
Ian Morton (Lim Hae Dong, b. 1985) is a Korean-American, non-binary photographer and photo editor. Born in Seoul, S. Korea, Ian was adopted by an American family at the age of 3-months. Previously an ICU nurse, Ian has since transitioned to photo editing and photography full-time. Ian is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism One-Year Certificate Program, as well as the Mountain and the Eddie Adams Workshops. Following an internship at NPR, Ian now works as an associate photo editor at National Geographic. Ian’s interest in visual storytelling includes areas of health, science, culture, and identity.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, otherwise known by her moniker Poupay, is a Thai photographer based in New York City. With a keen passion for street photography, Poupay’s work has developed into a distinctive portfolio featuring subjects that range from chance encounters to bizarre slices of city life. Her approach is entirely direct while maintaining a fly-on-the-wall mindset. Poupay is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s Creative Practices One-Year Certificate Program. She is currently working as a freelance photographer in New York City as a regular contributor to multiple New York-based publications, including The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, etc.
Haruka Sakaguchi (b. 1990) is a Japanese documentary photographer based in New York City. She was born in Osaka, Japan and immigrated to the US with her parents when she was three months old. Haruka’s documentary work focuses on cultural identity and intergenerational trauma. Her clients include The New York Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine, ProPublica, The New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, BBC News, Bloomberg Businessweek, NPR, Newsweek and The Washington Post among other publications.
Neeta Satam is an Indian photojournalist, educator, and National Geographic Explorer based in Mumbai and Saint Louis, whose work explores the themes of cultural assimilation, human rights, and environmental issues through photography. Her personal journey and cultural identity have always influenced the issues she is drawn towards as a visual journalist. In 2001, she moved from India to the United States with a degree in geology and the rest of her belongings in a single suitcase. During an eight-year consulting stint as an environmental scientist, she observed that economic growth motives rather than concerns about conservation and human health issues often inform environmental policy. This realization and her passion for social justice ultimately prompted a career switch to visual journalism. Neeta earned a master’s degree in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, ProPublica, The Audubon Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, NPR, ESPN, The Undefeated, The Telegraph, and numerous other publications.
Arin Yoon (she/her) is a Korean American documentary photographer and visual artist based in the Kansas City area. Her work focuses on the military community and the impacts of war, notions of family, women and issues of identity and representation. Arin is a National Geographic Explorer and an International Women’s Media Foundation fellow. She is an alumna of the Eddie Adams Workshop and the Missouri Photo Workshop, and recently participated in the New York Portfolio Review. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, The Washington Post, NPR, TIME, ProPublica and The New York Times, among other publications. Arin has exhibited at venues such as the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul, Daegu Arts Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and A.I.R. Gallery in New York. She has an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in Political Science and a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.
Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.
In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.
By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.
Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.
For more information about Photoville visit, www.photoville.com
Asian Photographers Share the Stories Behind Their Names
Featuring: Various Artists
Curated by: Photoville
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