Souvenir di Roma, 2012

Walking along the streets of Rome, I find myself in the position of a viewer, in a city that survives each day by showcasing itself. There is a dichotomy of seeing and being seen, and the city becomes an experience made up of performative actions, big and small, spectacular and seemingly mundane. 

In this photography and installation project, I asked street vendors in Rome to take pictures of the city on a disposable camera that I offered, after purchasing an item from their stands. Rakesh Kapoor, one of the many vendors I interacted with, generously accepted and met with me several times at cafes and historical sites to exchange pictures. Along with the images, he shared stories of Southeast Asian migrants striving to make a living in Rome's tourist industry, often illegally, sending the money back home to support their families.

Rakesh Kapoor's photographs were turned into a set of original postcards that credit him as the photographer, while the various interactions I had with other vendors were bound into a book with photo documentations.