I begin my new blog on the third anniversary of my dad’s death because I want my work to root in authenticity. Instead of simply hiding behind a camera, I am here to see the world through different lenses and capture real stories in my life and others.
He was diagnosed in 2017 with stage four lung cancer, metastasized in the brain, and later in the heart.
Grief has been a close friend of mine since I was eighteen, an accomplice since I was barely one. Its maze-like emotions hide in nooks and crannies sometimes and hollers in echo chambers in other times. My family has persisted through cancer with our chins up high and knuckles white. “Grit” and “gratitude” were common words in our household.
As much as I want this day to be about death because its presence is so poignant and everlasting, I want life to be the main character, and reality to be the plot. And so, I come here to tell you that your story matters, even with all its twists and turns and confusions and celebrations and silliness and tragedies. It doesn’t have to be sugar-coated and it doesn’t have to be a martyr.
I want to work on sitting in the pressing and mundane at the same time. I want to sit in the mess and see beauty. I curate spaces like this in photography: try conversing with a toddler in a tantrum and you’ll feel the stress, but when the shutter clicks, the moment is cherished. The boundary between pressing and mundane is blurred in storytelling.
My dad told my family to make memories. And that’s what I have set out to do. Welcome to a community that embraces grit and gratitude in all its diverse ways.