In 2015 I received an email from my immigration attorney asking me if I was ready to file for American citizenship. I soon realized I didn’t know if I was ready to become an American citizen. What did that even mean? Was this who I was now: a potential American? I knew I was ready to be called a New Yorker, but an American?
I took time to think about it, wondering if I would fit in, wondering if this is where my heart was. A year later I still had my doubts so I decided to take to the road, to go meet the rest of the country, to go meet the Americans and to understand what it meant to be an American.
Over the course of 4 months, I drove an estimated 15,000 miles across the U.S which led me to meet over 100 people with my camera. I was welcomed everywhere and people were eager to help me with my project.
My doubts about fitting in as an American faded pretty fast and instead, a sense of belonging grew in me. Of course I fitted in, I was in a country built by people who immigrated from all over the world.
I am now an American citizen and was able to vote in the last election which followed with a travel ban pointing to immigration as being a threat to the country. Our diversity is for me the core of the beauty of the American identity and the main reason why I joined. It is time to celebrate this unique identity and diversity as a strength which is now more important than ever through 'We The People'.
‘WE THE PEOPLE’ is a photographic album of Americans from all paths, background, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, social class, political affiliation and sexual orientation.
Every person I approached to photograph was totally empowered to decide where and how their portrait will be taken with very minimum direction. My goal was to capture each individual and document their story.
The aim of this conceptual piece is not to create yet another collection of individual biographies, but to sketch out the outlines of a national biography of the American identity by making the portraits anonymous.
Visually, the work is meant to be built into a conceptual photography project as photo cards and a fold-out map tracing the journey I took, the stories and the visual documentation of the people I met along my path all the while asking who are the Americans?
As it stands, we are ready to move this project into the stages of production. Thus far the project has been self funded and the cost to produce a small collection of the work into a final package is beyond my means.
I am hopeful that the reality of the final product could extend beyond a creative consumer but into the hands of youth and educational institutions empowering unity and acceptance as the foundation of our Nation.
Please help me make this project a reality!
The funds raised will be dedicated to pay for a designer and to cover the printing and the production costs turning this concept into a physical package that once distributed will support further growth of this project.
I am looking to create an American product to support the concept of the project: photographed, designed and published in the USA.
All the proceeds of the sales of the produced book will go toward developing a trans media 'WE THE PEOPLE' project including an interactive web presence.