Do you ever refer to past immigration waves into the United States and draw parallels when making pictures, maybe like peering into the past and future at once?
Yes, I do, and I stupidly bought a lot of books on Ellis Island since I started working on this project, and I look at a lot of Jacob Riis’ stuff, of course.
I hope we are putting out a document that will stand and continue to prove its value years from now, and at the same time I hope I will be able to capture this ever changing idea of America I had since I came here to study photography in 2007. These are the goals we set for ourselves, this is what we’re trying to do. For me, documenting this issue will always be the other side of making sense of it all. ‘All’ meaning my whole experience of living in America.
When will the book be finished?
It should be done by the start of the summer, to come out in the fall. We are kickstarting part of the budget to cover a few last trips we feel are necessary, I am trying to travel light and to take always the longest way around, since the scope of the project is also about photographing America itself, or my idea of it, at least. I’m supposed to shoot a Burmese family tomorrow in Charlottesville, VA and I’m taking the train at three AM, from NYC to DC, then the bus to Charlottesville, just to see the country, you know, to travel with people I don’t know, to places I’ve never seen, and to shoot it like crazy in the meantime. Super 8, digital, BW 35mm, we’re going for broke.