Aperture / 251
Being & Becoming: Asian in America
Guest edited by Stephanie Hueon Tung, “Being & Becoming: Asian in America,” considers how artists use the medium of photography to grapple with questions of visibility, belonging, and what it means to be Asian American.
This summer, Aperture magazine presents “Being & Becoming: Asian in America,” a landmark issue that considers how artists use the medium of photography to grapple with questions of visibility, belonging, and what it means to be Asian American. Spanning photography from the nineteenth century to the present, and featuring the work of acclaimed figures such as An-My Lê and Reagan Louie, “Being & Becoming” is guest edited by Stephanie Hueon Tung, curator of photography at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts.
“I hope this publication provides an opportunity to discover generative ways of seeing that are rooted in connection and empathy,” says Tung, who contributes a powerful essay to the magazine about the importance of envisioning Asian American lives. “It is through the work of artists that we can change our perceptions of the past and heal generational wounds.”
In “Being & Becoming,” Ryan Lee Wong interviews An-My Lê and Pao Houa Her about photography, fiction, and truth in the aftermath of war. Bakirathi Mani looks at artists engaging with collections and public archives shaped by colonial histories, while Xueli Wang writes about those making work in domestic spaces as a way to push back against assimilation. Ken Chen discusses Toyo Miyatake’s striking record of life inside the Manzanar prison camp in the central Californian desert. Simon Wu reflects on performative conceptual photographer and documentarian of East Village life Tseng Kwong Chi and his downtown New York era. And Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander speaks with Reagan Louie, who has spent more than fifty years addressing issues of migration, cultural transformation, and intergenerational dialogue through photography.
Among the artist portfolios in “Being & Becoming,” Gina Osterloh—whose work is featured on the cover— experiments with the legibility and illegibility of identity. Leonard Suryajaya constructs exuberant scenes of life in Indonesia and Chicago. Arthur Ou considers the act of seeing the world as a precursor to understanding his place in it. Guanyu Xu layers images of domestic spaces, filled with symbols of home, history, and affection. Priya Suresh Kambli mines family photographs to produce collages about migration and memory, and Jarod Lew composes “deliberately uncluttered” images of his family in Detroit. This issue also features essays from Phoebe Chen, Tausif Noor, Mimi Wong, Amy Sadao, Xuan Juliana Wang, Amitava Kumar, and Simon Han.
In The PhotoBook Review—included within every issue of Aperture as of summer 2022—Taous Dahmani speaks with Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi, bookmaker and co-founder of the Marseille-based independent publisher Chose Commune. Lena Fritsch reviews an expansive new book that charts Japan’s unparalleled history of photography in print publications. In addition, Aperture’s editors review new and notable photobooks.
Aperture magazine, founded in 1952 and based in New York City, is an international quarterly journal specializing in photography. It features photographs by established and emerging photographers, as well as artists experimenting with photo related media. Each issue is usually themed and includes writings by critics, scholars, photography practitioners, and others involved in the field of photography.