A Korean American photographer named Diana Kim has lost contact with her father since she was 5. That’s because her mother and father got divorced. She hasn’t heard from him since. Fast forward to today; Diana is a brilliant woman who also works as a photographer. She likes to take photos of homeless people. This interest of her started in college. This is also the reason why she met her father again after a long, long time. This 30-year old photographer from Maui, Hawaii got this liking for photography from her father because he used to teach her to take photos. This may also be the reason why she didn’t stop learning the craft.
She is into taking photos of homeless people and little did she know that this will also be the reason why she’ll meet her father again. When her father and mother divorced when she was 5, they had to stay in with friends and family. There were even times when they stay in the car or the park because they were broke. Because of this, Diana learned how hard life can be at an early age. She said that she has a strong survival instinct and it doesn’t bother her if life is hard because she is a strong woman.
She started taking photos of homeless people because she feels that she can relate to them. She said she knows how it feels like to be abandoned and forgotten. She also said she is very much aware of how hard it is when life isn’t stable and there’s no economic freedom because she experienced it before. This is the reason why most of her photos have homeless people as subjects.
In 2012, to her surprise, she saw her father. She saw him in the street corner. The sad thing is that he didn’t recognize her because they’ve been apart a long time ago. But, she knew she was looking at her father. She narrated how determined she was to walk up to him. He looked different from the last time she saw him. She exclaimed that he looked disheveled and he changed a lot physically. He looked thinner and she said that it seemed he has severe schizophrenia. She found the courage to call him dad but he didn’t answer. She tried to attract his attention but he didn’t react.
She went on like that until a woman came and told her to just ignore him. The woman said that her dad usually stands there like that. Diana felt angry at the woman and said she wanted to bark at her for telling that. Since the woman didn’t know that this man is her father, Diana just said that she needs to wake him up. At first, his mental illness wasn’t treated because he refused to let his daughter help him. He would talk like there was someone was there talking to him but there was nobody around. He didn’t reply when his daughter would talk to him and would rather talk to his ‘imaginary friends’.
Diana didn’t give up. She visited her father countless times. Then, one day she learned that he was in the hospital because he had a heart attack. She found hope in the situation because she knows that his mental illness will also be treated. That’s exactly what happened. His condition improved and he came back to his old self. He began to have friends again and he also looked for a job. He is recovering from the heart attack and Diana feels that what happened is a gift. It is a gift to her and father to be reunited. She is also happy for her father because he is earning again and he has a ‘sense of accomplishment’.
Aside from her inspirational story about her father, Diana hopes that this is a way to encourage everyone to be nicer to homeless people. She also hopes that people will change their minds about homeless people. As for her and her dad, let’s all hope that they continue to have a wonderful and loving relationship as father and daughter.