I initiated the Glasshouse of New Americans project to explore the new immigrant experience, specifically people that decided to come to the USA from the 1960’s onward. They had the bravery needed to pick up and leave one’s homeland no matter what period of time.
Although current modes of transportation have improved, immigrating remains filled with challenges. My goal was to communicate concepts of heritage and immigrant hardship into tangible forms by utilizing a process from another period of time when other new immigrants were also being photographically documented.
A three-dimensional glass house was made from old windows, their distressed exteriors echoing the hardship of what it means to be an immigrant. The structure shares the ghost-like fragility of the glass panels that support the portraits I made using wet-plate collodion, a 150 year-old photographic technique. The use of collodion technique represents the precarious nature of the immigration process itself.
The old adage “those in glass houses should not throw stones” resonates once one looks into the eyes of the New Americans to realize that we are all immigrants. It is this understanding and awareness of heritage and personal history that is key to a more empathetic and compassionate future.
“…this ever evolving diversity challenges the idea of a single dominant vision of the American identity, encouraging Americans to embrace inclusion and pluralism.”
—Ellis Island Museum, New York City