Jasmine R Shaw,
Jasmine Shaw is a photography major completing her BFA at New Jersey City University. She is extremely passionate about photography and design and its story-telling power. Her work examines her Chinese American identity through the lens of adoption and other overlooked communities. She explores her identity through photographing environments, family members, other Asian Americans, and Asian adoptees. Her work touches upon dynamic perspectives of Asian communities in America and breaking down preconceptions of culturally mixed identities. She enjoys shooting in film and digital formats.
As a Chinese adoptee, there are many unknowns. Piecing together intangible things such as identity and memory is difficult. Most people are able to recall stories their parents tell them that structure their understanding of personal and cultural identity. Growing up in the United States and separated from the place of my birth, my identity is shaped by the mixed families, environments, and communities I live in.
When my parents adopted me, they documented their journey through photographs that were used to create and embrace memories. Those photos anchor my efforts to piece together memories of who I am and inspired my search for personal and cultural connections.
I was fortunate enough to visit the major cities of China in the winter of 2020. Although I was not able to visit the specific orphanage that I was adopted from, my search for a sense of belonging in China revealed many mixed emotions. The broken pieces and misaligned images create a new personal history, while the scratches and light leaks are symbolic of how I process adoption. Visual harmony and connection are also found between different environments that may not relate at first glance. These images highlight the struggles I face in relating to my Chinese-American identity.