I See You, 2023

I was going through a tough time and started exploring different therapies, professional and self help.It was during this period that I came up with an idea to merge healing and photography in a practical way. 

I focus on the lives of Asian immigrants in the UK because I grew up in Taiwan and that is my familiar culture and background. Many of us have moved far from our home countries, adopted English nicknames and adjusted to Western lifestyle, but we still burden the stress and challenges from our roots. 

I put out a call, inviting strangers to pick a safe place, either theirs or mine, and share their stories with me. Afterwards, we would do some breathwork, and I would take portraits of them, even if they ended up in tears. At first, I thought it might sound strange and that no one would sign up. Who wants to spill their darkest or most painful stories to a stranger and then have their tearful face photographed? 
But surprisingly, I received an overwhelming response and the experience turned out to be profoundly meaningful. 
During the breathwork, I encouraged participants to repeat a mantra, one that resonates especially within the Asian mentality: ‘I see you’. In a culture where we often conceal our vulnerability, put on a brave face and avoid burdening others with our worries, this exercise aimed to help them rediscover their self-worth: ‘I see you’. ‘I love you’. ‘I am enough’. 
Most of them could not hold back their tears and they were grateful for finally having a chance to let out what they had bottled up for so long. 

As a photographer, I often wonder what sets us apart from artificial intelligence. This project shows that our unique human quality is our ability to connect with one another. In our shared moments, we find the true depth of our humanity.

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