Jul 23, 2014
My relationship with my family has always been a bit odd. Increasingly distant. I won’t even get into my extended family, because I’m the black sheep. The cheese that stands alone.
But my parents have never done anything “wrong”- in fact, they’ve done everything “right.” They raised me with proper values, revolving my life around academics and sending me to religious, private schools. They saved money for my college education, they never beat me, they always made sure I was fed, and I’ve always had a warm, comfortable roof over my head. And they want me to do everything “right” also.
But what is “right”? Who is to say what is the “right” way to live?
I was supposed to become a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, or at least a journalist, but instead, I am a photographer. In my culture, that has a connotation like it’s a recipe for failure. My mother worries about insurance, unsteady pay, etc. and wants me to succumb to the 9am-5pm, drive in rush hour for the sake of benefits, corporate work world. I argue that there are other, better ways for me to live.
When I was younger, I was put through ballet and piano lessons, and I quit them to play soccer. I dropped out of Sunday school and got confirmed into Catholicism in the Philippines, where no schooling, just a check, was required. Now I don’t go to church at all. Not even on Easter Sunday.
Through my discussions with other Asian-American women in their twenties, I can come to the conclusion that our differences are simply generational and cultural. We are called the “Millennials,” the “Me Generation.” We value the individual and do what we want. But we are also said to care more about doing good in our world. Perhaps because we exist during a volatile time, when our human habits are starting to really catch up with us. We are living in a virtual world, and not much is tangible anymore. Not money, not information, not photographs.
This project is a step towards the human and the tangible. It is an attempt to convince people that there is no singular “right” or “correct” way to live the only life we have.
Jul 23, 2014
As this is my first article, I suppose it would be appropriate to introduce myself. I am Anjelica Jardiel, a firm believer that one’s art should be a reflection or representation of who the artist is. I was trained in writing before photography, which taught me that in order to write well, I must write what I know. It took me a long time to figure out what I know, and I try to learn something new everyday. I spent a good portion of my life figuring out what I was good at that I could actually spend the rest of my life doing. For years, as a little girl when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my only response was, “Happy.” How I would achieve said happiness, I wasn’t sure.
Now, here I am, on the verge of turning 25, a Millennial through and through, still living with my parents amidst a recession that has no visible end. I graduated college twice- I obtained a B.A. in Communications from UCSD, followed by a B.F.A. in Photography Imaging from Art Center College of Design. For the first time in my life, my graduation day was not followed by another round of school, but rather daily job searching and debt. I am at the beginning of my career as a freelance photographer, a choice that makes my parents more nervous than California’s imminent, catastrophic earthquake. I must admit that I too fear failure, but failure is not an option, and I simply could not live a respectable life as a doctor, lawyer or dentist. Shooting photographs is the only thing that can make me happy every, single day of my life, because every day is new.
It took me a long time to come to terms with not only myself, but with the type of art I wanted to make. I take cues from popular culture and the mega-individuals who create a brand out of themselves. If people are interested in you as a person, they will be interested in your art. The more art I create, the more I realize I photograph myself through the person I am photographing.
I am on the path toward celebrity editorial and fashion campaigns, but I currently studio manage another photographer and shoot anything I can to get by- from portraits, to pet portraits, to musicians’ album art, to weddings, other events, and head shots. In my free time, I am working on a particular portrait project that will take me around the world in pursuit of it. It is a reflection of who I am, and a representation of the Asian women I meet.
I call it, The Apologetic Epidemic. It stemmed from an observation that Asian women excessively apologize, whether out of politeness, fear of offending another, guilt, or sheer habit. The project grew into an exploration, in which I find the universalities that exist among all of us. This project has a singular mission – to convince Asian women, and women all of all races all over the world, to stop apologizing for who they are.