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Awkward Silence, the first project of the Family Photo Album series, is a photo book that narrates our family reunion and trip in Berlin, Germany, where my sister was living at the time in December 2019. It was our first time reuniting in two years and my first time facing them after coming out. The topic of my sexuality was not mentioned once during our trip and I found it difficult to navigate how to simply be in this new, awkward dynamic and often felt withdrawn from my reality. Not only did I not recognize myself as their (gay) son, I also hardly recognized my (Korean) self. I found myself obsessively taking pictures as a way to constantly occupy my attention–to stay in some reality. Presented in the style of movie stills, the images in Awkward Silence portray intimate, yet careful family dynamics through the episodic memories of dissociative experiences.
Family Photo Album is a series of image-based projects that examines the dynamics of my familial relationships. Presented in various media formats, each project explores the nuanced nature of family relations and touches on topics like migration, loss, mental health, queer identities, Korean/American experiences, intergenerational conflicts, and the cultural tensions between the Eastern and the Western values.
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