13789 km away from home
- digital photography,

featured in “inVISIBLE”, a pop up juried exhibition in recognition of World Mental Health Day organized by UCare and Circa Gallery

featured in Slanted magazine, issue 36

13789 km is a distance between Vietnam and the US and is also the longest I’ve ever beenaway from home. Coming to the States for the first time as an international student, I gotoverwhelmed by not only cultural, language shock but also extreme homesickness and feelingof disorientation. For weeks and months during my first year, I imprisoned myself in my room,undermining both of my physical and mental health and not talking about this to anyonebecause at a time, I thought that this was too trivial for other people to care about.

Color and texture are what I experiment with a lot in this project because they can effectivelyshowcase the rawness, the shades, the abstractness of the experience. Each color representseach major emotions I went through. I took inspiration from “Separation” by Laura Pannack,“secret garden stories” by Cristina Coral, and “faceless” by Evelyn Bencicova. Thesephotographers took an unconventional, abstract approach to color and texture as a way ofconveying the narrative of their photos.

Through this series of staged portraits, I for the first time “exposed” those emotional impact sucha distance and experience has on me to assure anyone going through the same experience as Idid that it is totally ok to experience those emotions when you are joining the community you’renot originally a part of. No feeling is too trivial to talk about or to be ignorant of. That is a part ofgrowing up and things will be alright at the end.