Pursuing my project, "In Search of Little Saigon in America" has been an endeavor of personal journey and understanding. One of the reasons I came up with doing this project was to understand where I particularly fit in America and in Vietnam, well if found myself uprooting my life to live there. As I mention in the story, I am a Vietnamese American. My parents emigrated to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War, then had us four. We grew up with a dual cultural identity.
Being a food and culture photographer, the other pressing idea that I wanted to address in this project, not just to discover where I fit in, is how as our food changed. Either from cooking methods to ingredients.
As great as all of that sounds above, the hustle is real. I have been finding difficulty in trying to get more portraits and interviews in. I am not complaining, it is training me to just keep going and pounding the pavement. There are three major reasons for this. At least in my perspective.
- I am not fluent in Vietnamese. I said it. Although I am trying to learn it, being able to discuss this prospect with the cooks and owners has been pretty daunting with me not being able to fluently speak and understand the language. To alleviate this I have been asking friends who can speak it to go with me.
- I am terrible at pitching this project. But this could just be an issue that goes with #1.
- They don't want to talk to me about their story or for me to take portraits of them.
But all of those problems to be able to interview and get portraits are trite in the end. There are always solutions to problems. So I am just going to keep on pounding the pavement to continue this series of work. I do really want to put it all into book form.
One of the shops that I really want to get portraits and interview with is with Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thanh on Kensington Ave. The two top photos are from that shop. They make one of, if not the, best pho ga (pho with chicken) in Philly.
The next project I have been working on is called "Portraits of Food in Philadelphia." It's a brief overview of the restaurants and food in Philadelphia. Check them out on my Exposure. On Sunday I went to Philly Style Bagels for their bagels and piece together photographs for their eventual addition to the series. They will be moving into their own brick and mortar sometime in September. Also I am going to do a Spot Burgers piece too. Especially when they will get their own Brick and Mortar as well.