Always an Outsider
Growing up as an immigrant in the midwest, I first experienced racism at a young age. Looking back, it was so new to me that I didn’t understand the concept until it was explained to me. The idea was planted in my mind that I am an outsider, that what I see in the mirror as normal is considered different to the majority. I can perfect my language, identify as American, but I will always be seen as an outsider. On the other hand, racists and bigots can camouflage into a society that will always see them as normal. This imbalance has affected how I perceive new people I meet.
This work is a visual exploration of how that feeling of uncertainty has become a pervasive thought in my life.
That feeling when you wonder if people will judge your work based on your last name.
That feeling when you walk through a white neighborhood and notice stares.
That feeling when you hear sirens and don’t know if you’re safe.
I know many people have also experienced this feeling. It’s sometimes hard to explain to others who are lucky enough to have avoided discrimination in their lives. I want to visually convey the dichotomy of how difficult it is to know if someone harbors animosity towards my identity versus how easily I can be identified as Asian. Each image is a visual representation of how I have become guarded towards the perceived risk of being discriminated against.
Andrew Wang began thinking in terms of depth of field and exposure at a young age, when his father, a retired engineer, taught him how to make a camera obscura out of a Morton’s Salt container. In the years since, Andrew has acquired the technical expertise to capture beautiful, crisp, and often deceivingly simple shots. His clean and minimalist style has helped to make him a sought after Boston-based freelance photographer, specializing in events, products, and portraits. His work has been included in SELF, The Improper Bostonian, a video project for the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Magazine, and Koji Alchemy. In his free time, Andrew donates his time as Black Cat Rescue’s volunteer photographer. He resides in Boston with his wife, young son, and two cats.