A Return to Roots for Photographers Elizabeth Moreno, Cecil McDonald, Jr., and Kevin J. Miyazaki
The latest volume of En Foco’s (the non-profit dedicated to cultural diversity in photography) Nueva Luz Journal features a commentary by OF NOTE’s Grace Aneiza Ali on the work of photographers Kevin Miyazaki, Cecil McDonald, Jr., and Elizabeth Moreno. See an excerpt below and download the complimentary digital issue HERE.
A Return to Roots by Grace Aneiza Ali
The personal is political. And perhaps there is no place that embodies both the personal and political more so than the sacred space of the home. A space whose walls often hold our secrets and our secret lives; a space where we find refuge from the chaos of the outside world, and simultaneously, where we unearth the genesis of our greatest conflicts and regrets. Home is where our stories of origin begin.
My own feelings of home – of loss and yearning for it – are what drew me to the work of these three photographers: Elizabeth Moreno, Cecil McDonald, Jr., and Kevin J. Miyazaki. Home for me is in Georgetown, Guyana—a place I have yet to return. My family left seventeen years ago, seeking, like most immigrants coming to the United States, a better life than the impoverished one we were born in. We found that better life. And yet my longing for the place where I grew up has never left. To remind me of that place, I often return to the photographs of family moments taken in our small two-room flat. These images serve as documents, as evidence of a life lived in another world, in another time, as another Grace.
For Moreno, Miyazaki, and McDonald, the sierras of Baja California, the former Japanese-American internment barracks in California and Wyoming, and the family home in Chicago, are where their person- al narratives are rooted. In their collections, they return to roots—the geographic place, the physical edifice and the idea of home. It is this attraction to home, this reverence for what is contained on its walls and within its walls, this coming and going from it, leaving and returning to it, that I find compelling. What their images reveal are places fraught with stories, told and untold; moments, simple and contradictory; and people composed and dimensional. Read on…