My grandfather told many stories. He told stories of his years in Vietnam. He told stories of the war. He told stories of the flight to the United States. My grandfather not only told stories but relived them for you with the same emotion as if the past were the present. In this photograph, I captured a moment that characterizes my grandfather. In this photograph, he is in the midst of telling a story.
It was Chinese New Year. There was an enormous dinner at my parent’s house and all my relatives were there. I sat at the dinner table with my camera around my neck and snapped photographs here and there of things no one would care about except me. I turned around and caught my grandfather in some agony, some horror, some surprise, or some emotion – I will never know which as I was neither close enough to hear nor did I understand any Vietnamese.
My grandfather passed away on July 22, 2003. I not only captured a moment that characterized my grandfather but captured the essence that made him the man he was. This photograph captured his passion. He was the man that brought up twelve children, the man that desperately wanted each of them to love him, and the man that always wanted to help us in one way or another. He was the man that loved us all. Any mistakes that he made, any hurt that he might have caused was all done with his heart in the right place.
As a child and as a teenager, I always took for granted everything my grandfather had to offer. As an adult, I have an unyielding passion for life that I directly attribute to him. I look at this photograph now and see his life. I look at this photograph now and see the life he has given me.
Zenia Le (Los Angeles, CA, USA)