Karen Serago

April 1, 1999 - May 1, 1999

Image © Karen Serago

Image © Karen Serago

Image © Karen Serago

Image © Karen Serago

Karen Serago

In my mind and in my dreams I am constantly pulled back to the United States by my roots, after all my family, culture and traditions are all there giving me a strong and vivid connections. Finding a sense of belonging in Taiwan has proven to be much more challenging than I ever anticipated. No matter how well I speak Chinese or practice the local customs, I’m forever foreign.

Unexpectedly, a turning point occurred one afternoon about three years ago. My then two year old son, Sean, and I had gone to play in a neighborhood park as we so often did on sunny days. I was quite familiar with this particular park and as usual I regarded the bordering shanty houses ruefully, puzzled by their desperate appearance. Everything, I thought, was incomprehensible and different from what I knew and understood back home. As I was thinking about those differences, then smog and the motorcycle that nearly hit us on our way, I looked over and saw Sean gleefully chasing some roosters that made the park their home. I remember staring with amazement at how effortlessly he embraced his environment. He was enjoying his childhood despite the deteriorating structures, unkempt gardens, and debris around him– it was irrelevant. In the moment I turned around and saw what would become the first meaningful photograph I was to make in Taiwan.