On the Value of Beauty

I’ve been thinking a lot about value recently. In particular, the relationship between value and beauty and art. Value is not to be confused with money mind you, as money is merely the medium in which value is exchanged. Instead value is tied to the things we need, but also to the things we like. Our values are a reflection of our beliefs, education, environment, and personal experiences. As the great street fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once explained: “Money’s the cheapest thing…liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”  Last month, a friend of mine asked me to take some video …

BBoy Monsters: Redaska

A few weeks ago my buddy Steve, a fellow BBoy/Photographer I know from Boston, told me he was moving back to France. While my focus this year has mostly been on binding books and expanding the World of One. As a parting gift, I asked him if he’d be interested in posing for a BBoy Monster. Steve, who goes by the BBoy name “Redaska” has always had a unique style. Blending creativity with athleticism, his dancing caught my eye from the moment I first saw him throw down. I’ve always thought of his style as a real dancer’s dancer. From …

A Spring Story

Around this time every year, I panic. As soon as the leaves start blooming, I start to feel the creative pressure to get out and capture their fleeting beauty. After missing out on spring entirely last year (lockdown will do that), as well as trudging through a tough and harsh winter. I feel like I’m appreciating this spring more than any other I have in my life. Between raising AAIP hate crimes and staggering death tolls, I really just wanted to go out and make something pretty.  So a couple weekends ago, I asked my friend Ann to go out …

Responding to Asian Hate

I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts or what I like to call “Your suburb’s suburb.” Our claim to fame is that we are the site of the start to the American Revolutionary War. On our town green there’s a flag with an inscription that reads “the Birthplace of Liberty.” There’s a playground less than a mile from there, where I must’ve been around 6 or 7 years old when someone first called me a chink. It was by another little boy on the playground, who was trying to throw me off one of the wooden structures we were climbing on. I …

World of One: Memento Mori II

“When someone that you love dies..it’s like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black.” Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog A good friend of mine lost her mother last month. Even though I only met her mom a handful of times, she always made me feel welcomed. It made me incredibly sad. Especially since the one thing I wanted to do for my friend was to give her a hug, and I can’t. This experience made me think about all the other nameless deaths that have happened over the past year. As of writing this, …

World of One: Stand Together

In America, Asians are known as the “Model Minority.” But growing up here, I’ve always looked at how society treats black people as the real “Model Minority.” Because there ain’t shit they can do to us, that hasn’t been done to them. With this piece, I wanted to show my support for their struggle, and to say that “Even if your back is against the wall, I stand with you.”

Books for Burning

I tend to think of my work as fitting into one of three categories: Eye Candy, Mind Candy, or a mix of the two. Most of the work I’ve made in the past decade I think belong in the Eye Candy/mixed camp. This is largely driven by practical considerations, as beauty tends to be an easier sell. However, the Mind Candy side is where I think I make my most compelling, and thought provoking work. This summer I started my first long term Mind Candy project in ten years. I am hand binding 451 little red books, and when I …

Muses and Mystery

Ann is one of my closest friends in New York. Although she might look like a kpop star, she’s actually a doctor finishing her residency. So I basically never see her, because she’s usually too busy saving us from ourselves. So when she asked me to take her picture at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend, I jumped at the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve shot any portraiture – surreal or otherwise. Because I started a new labor intensive project in July that I’ve been too busy procrastinating on. So I haven’t been shooting all that much, and when …

World of One: The World is Watching

The World is Watching – Shot towards the end of May, about a week before NYC started to emerge from lockdown. This image is inspired by how I felt the world (particularly Asia) was watching the U.S during the beginning of the pandemic.