“What are your roots?” is a question asked about one’s identity. It’s also asked as “Where are you from? What’s your cultural background?” These are questions I’ve never known how to answer. As a queer 1st generation Korean-American, I’ve been lost between two worlds. Once I asked others the same question, I discovered that the answer was always told through a story. Patterns of fragmented identities, struggles between immigrant parents and American-born children, and strongly shaping one’s own path connected these stories together. ROOTS is a collection of experiences from 1st-2nd generation Americans, immigrant families, and young L.A. creatives. Collaborating with photographer MJ Katz, ROOTS captured the portraits of today’s visionary generation. ROOTS is an ongoing project that offers authentic stories crossing over generational and cultural lines, and redefining what it means to be an American today.
One of the most rewarding parts of ROOTS was the opportunity to immerse myself in other people's lives, and experience Los Angeles through their eyes. Sometimes I walked with a storyteller through the city streets during the dead of night. Other times I was invited into a storyteller's home. Each interview was captured through open hearted conversation and candid photography.