While belonging may seem to be inherently joyful, it is a privilege not experienced by everyone. For those who have felt disconnected in the past, the journey to belonging can be complicated, rooted in sadness and self-discovery. Sometimes finding the connections that ground us in our heritage can allow this feeling to blossom into self-love and acceptance.
My project, “Ibul” (Korean for “blanket”), explores these contextual nuances through the lens of my personal journey to “belonging” by connecting with my family’s Korean heritage. Coming from a broken home and feeling uprooted by being constantly moving around, my sense of "belonging" didn't start until my grandmother immigrated to the U.S. to raise me. I used her only possession she escaped from North Korea with--a blanket--as inspiration for the project.
By re-contextualizing this seemingly ordinary item as a symbol of care and inner strength, I explore the concepts of love, hope and connection that come from "belonging."
Judy Pak is a photographer and director based in New York City. With her keen eye for aesthetics and her unique way of capturing light, she creates images that seem effortless and make you pause. Pak draws inspiration from the often overlooked beauty she finds in people, places and otherwise ordinary objects that make up our lives. She holds a special passion for portraying diverse women through a lens of empowerment, infusing their natural softness and vulnerability to create an engaging and relatable narrative.
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