Artist Spends 10 Years Taking Photos Of Homeless People, Only To Discover Her Own Father Among Them

Diana Kim is a 30-year-old O'ahu-based photographer whose love of her home, and her craft, were born from her family.

"I grew up on the island of Maui and consider the islands to be home," said Kim. "My father owned a photography studio at one time, so my earliest introduction to photography was through him."

But over time, Kim's parents separated. Her father, she says, became "absent." Kim spent years bouncing between relatives' homes, including a few years living in parks, cars, and with friends.

"I always thought of it as 'roughing it,' so it didn't really bother me," she recalled. "My survival instincts were always strong."

In 2003, as a student, Kim began a photo essay about the homeless communities around her, continuing and expanding the project and her advocacy for years.

Years later, Kim's grandmother alerted her that her father's mental health had deteriorated – that he refused to bathe, eat, or take his medication; that she wasn't sure where he was living. While shooting her project on the streets of Honolulu in 2012, Kim found her father among the homeless she was documenting. Over the next few years, struggling to reconnect and breakthrough to him, she turned her camera on the man she thought she had lost.

Kim shared her photos with NBC Asian America, along with the stories behind them. Scroll down to see them all.


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