University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1996, MFA
My documentary photographic work is primarily concerned with contemporary social, cultural and political matters relating to Southeast Asia and China and how this intersects with my own personal history and experiences. In 1989, in China as part of a student exchange program with Beijing Teacher’s College, I documented the Tian An Men Square uprising. In 1992-1993, I retraced my steps as a refugee in Cambodia. In 1994, an Arts International/National Endowment for the Arts grant supported a second Cambodia project in landmines. And in 1995-1997, I returned to Southeast Asia to document various aspects of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian social, economic, and cultural recovery from the effects of war.
I see my photography work as evolving from my personal history through historical events and across cultures. My childhood was disrupted by the U.S. war in Southeast Asia and the political and cultural turmoil of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal re-ordering of Cambodian society. My family became refugees, finally arriving in the United States in 1981. My recent photography has been a process of reconsideration and re-appropriation of these past experiences. As part of the process, I traveled the Ho Chi Minh Trail in 1993 and during my last visit to Southeast Asia in 1996 and 1997, where I documented the consequences of the aerial bombing and the materials left from the secret American-Vietnam War in Laos and Cambodia.