(excerpt 2015 – 2016)

I met Nguyen, Long, Chi, Bobby, and Thao by chance while we were all living in New York. They were roughly 17 and 19 years old at the time, embarking on their independent adult life for the first time. Despite coming from a very different background in Vietnam, they share common adolescent struggles. They came into my life at a time when I, myself, was grappling with my own uncertainty. We would never be friends if we met anywhere else. But somehow in New York and at that moment, we were friends.

Photography, in and of itself, serves as a bridge between them and me. I want to catch their gaze as I look at them through my camera, not just as a photographer but also as a friend. We were face-to-face during that brief, tender moment of shutter click, sharing our joy and sorrow in a friendship that is close but fleeting and easily shattered.

As time passed, we moved away from New York, and our friendship faded. I don’t photograph them as frequently as I used to. These images, however, remain, and these moments become a reflection of how we have changed.