My Community Psychology / Humanitarian Photography Journey.

30.

I launched this photography website nearly five months ago, on the day I turned 30. This year, I also sold most of my things, packed a small suitcase and backpack, and went on a nomadic travel adventure that brought me through 32 cities, 12 countries, across 3 continents. I quit smoking leisurely. I meditated more often. I’m set to finish my PhD this year. And maybe the most frightening decision of all happened this year: I decided to pursue photography more seriously.

Yes. As you can probably speculate, I am definitely a sucker for attributing meaning to certain dates of the year: new years (particularly the lunar new year), birthdays (in increments of 5 years), and sometimes, because I’m a forever student, even the start and end of an academic calendar year (doesn’t everyone’s year end in August?)

This year, in a desperate attempt to find some familiarity during a year of constant stability-turnover, I decided to spend my 30th birthday in my home away from home: Hue , Vietnam. And besides a few coffee dates and humble vegetarian meals with friends, I spent most of my birthday doing exactly what I wanted: reflecting.

I thought back on this past year, and one lesson kept repeating itself over and over in bold: surrender. This was the year I truly learned (and put into practice) how to surrender to life. I learned how to be open to what life had in store for me. And even though my year reads somewhat like a overachiever’s laundry list of plans, goals, and resolutions, the unfolding of this year’s events was nothing but unpredictable.

Photography. I never thought in a million years that I would decide to pursue photography more seriously. I’ve always gone out of my way to make sure that it remained in the neatly-labeled “hobbies” box (sorry for all the friends’ weddings I declined to shoot). I told myself over and over that I needed to focus on my analytical career track. But, it was this year that I finally discovered a way to embrace my multifaceted nature and connect my own talents: my social psychology work and research and love for photography and storytelling.

And so begins this community  psychology / photography journey. As I’m finishing up this PhD and learning more and more about photography research methods, ethical imagery, and research storytelling, I’m finding that I also need a place to practice what I’m learning.

This photo blog represents an outlet for my photo-story craft. I hope you enjoy it. <3

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