Jin Young Lee

“American Girl Project: Semiotics of Nationalism” is a series of constructed photographs, weaving performance together as a photographic form of racial resistance in question of nationalism. When I was around nine years old, I told my parents I was American-Korean, not Korean-American. The syntax of my new title neglected both accuracy and logic, but my resolve was that I was an American “first.” I carried being American with the utmost pride. This was before I found language for otherness, before I would learn the ache and beauty of hyphenation, rich with diaspora. American Girl Project is a photographic exploration of devotion: the devotion that exists within nationalism and of assimilation, visualized through the appropriation of rural American aesthetics and a repetition of related symbols like the camouflage pattern and reference to the second amendment. Photography gives me the power and freedom of autonomy and I thank my friends and family for participating in this work.

Jin Y. Lee is a Korean American fine art photographer whose images originate from constructed performances and documentary practices.