torn roots

“torn roots” is a project that aims to show appreciation for things in their raw or original state. It is the celebration of individuality before it becomes lost in the process of transformation. This collection is comprised of traditional Chinese ingredients that are often overlooked when one is only presented with the final dish. It was important to capture their details in macro especially because they are almost representative of innocence. There is no way to make out the refined beauty of an ingredient in a finished dish unless it is through taste, but even then, it has already become influenced by multiple other factors that are irreversible. In ways, these photos are a metaphor for nostalgia. They are childhood photos not only of the ingredients,but also childhood photos of the flavors that raised us. In understanding the individual components that make up the flavor of a dish, I had hoped to also recognize parts of me that came together to become what I am now. Much like the final dish, I am now very unrecognizable from the cultures that I was once immersed in. Yet, developing a relationship with these plant’s roots somehow also seemed to reconnect me with my own. Each one holds a lost memory of a place in time that shaped me, which is also why I decided not to use any saturation in post. I found it imperative not to distort the images in fear that it would replace those in my memories. There is a sense of love that is found in the final dish once you acknowledge all the parts that came together to make it possible. It is almost as if making this dish helped me come to terms with the changes that I have gone through in life. It provides a closure that even if I, as a final dish, am unrecognizable from what I started as, can move forward knowing that the roots will always be part of me. No matter how much the world and my experiences change me, they will never invalidate the foundation that I was built upon. I think more people need to hear that because then they would feel more encouraged to love themselves and where they came from rather than feel the need to hide or shun it in hopes that it would allow them to assimilate better.