Living in Houston again, I’ve been thinking a lot about home. For one thing, I’m quite literally home again. For another, today is Chinese New Year’s Eve, and for Chinese people all over the world, that means coming home to celebrate. But “home,” I’m learning, doesn’t have to be a singular place.
In September 2017, I accompanied my grandmother as she visited her own ancestral home, which she hadn’t seen in 74 years and where we received the warmest welcome from family I didn’t know we had. I had never stepped foot in China before. I don’t speak or read or understand Chinese. I had never met any of the distant relations who so generously hosted, fed, and transported us.
And yet, somehow I felt as if I hadn’t simply come home — rather, I’d returned home.
Today, I’ll start sharing film I shot during our trip to my grandmother’s ancestral village. Shooting film has always been a deeply personal, completely intentional practice for me. Committing my first and second impressions of our homelandcoming permanently, tangibly, on film was a particularly intensely personal process. For a long time, I felt as if sharing the film to the broader world meant exposing, and consequently losing, a recently discovered but deeply hidden part of myself.
But now, I’m ready. After all, Chinese New Year means new beginnings, fresh starts, and homecomings.
Arrival at Zhencheng Lou (振成樓) in Hongkeng Village, Yongding County, Fujian, China. Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Portra 400, Canon EOS A2.