Since the coronavirus outbreak began, I’ve been thinking a lot about my family – especially my parents who have been living in Southeast Asia for the past seven months waiting for the pandemic to end so they can safely travel back to the United States. As a way of navigating these strange days, I've been looking back on past trips we’ve taken together and my visits to their home in Central Florida.
This specific set of images I’m sharing have brought me joy during a bleak time and has inspired me to create Permanent Vacation, a beachy portrait of my parents’ lives as Asian American retirees and senior citizens living in the Sunshine State.
Though my Mom and Dad have been Florida residents for over forty years now (originally arriving as immigrants from Thailand), I’m continually fascinated by the way that they have adapted to the American landscape and culture in their own unique way. From the way they dress to the popular colloquialisms they’ve adopted from cable television and the internet, it’s clear that their sunny, suburban environment has shaped their cultural identity.
Captured on a variety of color film formats during their usual weekend trips to the nearby seashores, this photo series offers a glimpse into my parents’ peaceful – yet vibrant and highly active lives as senior citizens, while broadening the ideas of aging and our sense of place and belonging in the world.
*Ongoing project (2019 - ongoing)