Gold 2018 / Editorial / Photo Essay

This, Our Stage Four

  • Prizes
    Gold in Editorial/Photo Essay
  • Photographer
    Argus Paul Estabrook

The phone rang. In a desperate tone, my mother told me that my father had suddenly been hospitalized with pancreatic cancer. Growing undiagnosed, it had already entered Stage 4.The need to preserve his remaining life was overwhelming and became my way of resisting the inevitable. Each click felt like I could stop time, no matter how painful. As he recounted memories and regrets, it also granted me a deepened emotional space to bond with him. Similarly, photography helped me see the day to day struggles of my mother. Her anguish equaled his own — their hearts and minds tied together.

I’m an emerging photographer currently based in Seoul, South Korea. As a Korean-American who grew up in a rural area of Virginia, I have a unique perspective of Korean identity and its relationship to both global and regional communities. I studied photography as an undergraduate, but set it aside during my MFA program at James Madison University to concentrate on intermedia. After moving to South Korea I rediscovered photography, using it as a means to document and share my experiences.