Glory of Shame (from the series World of One)
Archival Pigment Print from 35mm Negatives
24″ x 41 5/8″ inches | edition of 5
Just in time for Chinese New Year!!! Glory of Shame was photographed on Manhattan’s historic Doyer Street and in front of the oldest dim sum restaurant in New York, Nom Wah Tea Parlor. I had to wake up early…oh so early… one Sunday morning in order to get to Chinatown before the hordes of Chinese families arrived to lay claim to their dim sum. According to Wikipedia, Doyer Street used to be called the “Bloody Angle” due to the number of triad-related slayings that took place there in the early 20th century. According to my girlfriend, Doyer Street is also lined with barbershops because this is where the Americans used to cut off the long braids of incoming Chinese immigrants (citation needed).
My intention for this image was to show the contrast between glory/success and shame/defeat. Creatively, I was concerned with the challenge of visually conveying a sense of shame, and this is why I placed the “shame character” so prominently in my frame. Shame is something I have been thinking about a lot recently because it is something I feel like I live with every day. While I’m surrounded by successful friends who have all started promising careers, I find myself now five years out of school, still jobless, and struggling to survive. While I know that I intentionally chose to walk this path, it’s still hard for me to shake off the feeling that my life’s opportunities have already passed me by. Having to live off my family’s support, in particular, is a source of both shame and pride for me. I feel guilty because I feel like I should be able to support myself by now, but I also feel pride because I know how lucky I am. It is because I have a family that supports me that I can make the kind work that I want to make.
This picture is dedicated to all my friends and family currently going through some hard times. Even though times are tough, we must continue to move forward and find our own paths to glory.
A very special thanks to the beautiful Yen Norah Lo, for waking up at 5:00am to assist me on this shoot before going to work!
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