As Anthony Bourdain said, “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”
Kelly Han captures this exchange with her travel and street photography. Kelly was born in South Korea, moved to New York City at 10 years old, and got her BA in New York and Florence. Studying art in the birthplace of the Renaissance pushed her towards photography and ignited an undying love of travel. “Ceremonies and rituals fascinate me,” she writes in her artist statement. “My travels have provided me with ample opportunity to delve deep into the traditions and customs of distant places. I have learned that the beauty of different cultures reveals itself when I immerse [myself] in the society.”
Participating in Lunar New Year celebrations, white-knuckling on a speedy tuk-tuk ride, and witnessing jaw-dropping Samba costumes connected Kelly with the people who call these places home. “Their stories stay alive and move through us,” she says of the people in her photographs. In “Crying Girl in Old Goa,” Kelly captures a child’s tears, suspending the fleeting emotion in time. As the tears become a distant memory for the child, the photograph holds the story intact.
Kelly’s photographs are an introduction to humans you may never meet, traditions you may never experience. “My photography is a study of different cultures and how we perceive unfamiliar people and their customs,” she explains. Though new and unexpected, Kelly’s work bridges the gap between disparate cultures, making our world a little smaller—and more friendly—in the process.
“I have learned that the beauty of different cultures reveals itself when I immerse [myself] in the society.” — Kelly Han
Kelly Han: Website
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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