In New York City, the immigrant story is common. The representation of the American Dream is what has fueled generations of immigrants to relocate, leaving their homes in exchange for opportunity. Left unseen is the loneliness of the road not taken and the people and culture of life left behind. In an effort to understand my family’s immigrant story from South Korea, I explored the connections that span across oceans, working to combat the cultural and emotional detachments that are often found within the diaspora. In photos that exhibit intimacy, viewers can observe a palpable disconnect inevitable with distance. With immigration at the forefront of our socio-politics, the institution is the focus rather than the immigrants themselves. In sharing my family’s story, I reclaim the emotions that surround the personal experience of leaving home.
Lydia Lee, born and raised in New York City, utilizes photography to document her personal ties to universal experiences. Lee explores themes of heritage, youth, family, and identity through a cinematic lens. She will be studying Film/Media at the Dual BA Program between Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin.