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Pete Pin May 14, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Cambodia, United States.
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Cambodian Wedding, Bronx, New York 2011

Pete Pin (b. 1982, Cambodia/Thailand) is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in a refugee camp on the border of Cambodia and Thailand after the Cambodian genocide and immigrated as a refugee to California in the mid 1980’s. He received his BA at the University of California at Berkeley and later enrolled in the Documentary and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography, where he was awarded the Allan L Modotti Scholarship. Pete purchased his first camera months before embarking on an eight-year PHD program at Berkeley in the Social Sciences and abandoned his doctorate studies to pursue documentary photography. He is a Fellow at the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund and is an Emerging Talent under Getty Reportage.

About the Photograph:

“The photo above is of the wedding of Molly Sopouk and Todd Prom in the Bronx, New York. The image stood out for me for two reasons. First and foremost is this struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity. The unique circumstances of the Cambodian genocide severed the cultural continuity over generations for members of the diaspora community. However, in spite of this, there is an incredible resilience by Cambodian Americans. Second, and this speaks to me personally, I am interested in the physical and cultural space we inhabit as refugees and immigrants. What’s striking about this image, for me, is the boundary between the wedding couple and others, demarcated via the rug in which they are occupying.”

“Over the last year, I have been photographing the Cambodian diaspora community in the United States. This work is existentially personal: it is, for me, the intersection of personal memory and collective history. There is an awareness of one’s personal history that emerges normally when one reaches adulthood. Growing up, I was always aware of the “war,” but the war was an abstract concept that, for me, vaguely explained the origins of my existence. It wasn’t until I started college that I began to comprehend the uniqueness of my history, which was in itself filtered through the lens of the family space in which I was raised.”

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