America Seen

Yu-chen Chiu

2017 - Ongoing

United States

AMERICA SEEN is a visual poem about the social landscape of the United States during the Trump administration.

Like all of my work, this photo series focuses on notions of migration and belonging. As a long-term immigrant in the United States, many issues made me take a closer look at my second home: matters of race and gender, privacy and patriotism, violence and understanding. In this time of political unrest and uncertainty about the future, these themes have become magnified. This is one of the most turbulent times in American history, and I want to capture the spirit of the era.

Through my explorations of the land--from the spectacular cityscape of Manhattan, to Florida’s tropical keys, Middle America’s sprawling plains, west to the bygone town of Bombay Beach, California, and at last, up and back around to the timeless solitude of Butte, Montana--stark contrasts came to life. I witnessed the heights of glamour and the depths of decline, the scale of the land, and the diversity of race and culture. These differences are striking for someone who grew up in Taiwan, a small island country that is ethnically similar with a collectivist culture. The differences between the everyday souls I encountered on my journey were just as stark: from the happy dreamers to the lonely wanderers. Through photography, I realized my curiosity about the country is the reflection of its identity. While looking for the All-American scenes, I am searching for my own memories of Taiwan.

AMERICA SEEN is not intended only as a self-exploration of the U.S. It’s designed to document a history of this uncertain era. Through my lens, the audience can come along and see for themselves how the divided emotions blend together in search of the American Dream.

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