So much of what I do in my portrait work is revolved around listening. In order to truly tell a good story with my images, I think it’s important to know a little bit about the story behind the people in front of my lens.
So when Simone contacted me and said their family would like to do a shoot to honor their father and his 60th birthday, my ears perked right up (via email. yea, i can hear through email. can’t you?). In Korean culture, she told me, the 60th year is a huge hallmark. On top of that, her father recently overcame a battle with lymphoma…working hard to continue to support his family the whole while. This was a story I knew I had to share.
Because to me, so much of family is support. In some cultures and traditions, it is the father’s role to lead the family and create a backbone of support. Financially. Physically. Spiritually. A father is shelter. A father is protection. A father is guidance. The ultimate form of support. This is how I’ve known it to be anyway.
But in turn, the family supports the father right back. So many men go through so much to support their families. I understand this. I understand what my father has done. I understand much of what Simone’s father has done. And so we families hold hands, link arms, get down low and create a base for our fathers. We weave together and tie into a foundation of family support for not just our fathers, but for one another. Because that’s what families do. To me, family = support.
The Kims are the perfect illustration of this equation. Overcoming obstacles, growing up and into solid adults, binding together, becoming a unit of indestructible support, the Kims are a beautiful example of what family is all about. I heard it in their story before I met them. I heard it more when I spent an hour with them in San Juan. And it continues to ring in my head and my heart as I hear their story all over again here.