Meet Diana Kim. She is a 30-year-old living in O’ahu Hawaii with a passion for photography. She developed her passion when she was very young, intrigued by the photography studio owned by her father.
In 2003 she decided to start a photography project that was very dear to her heart. She began to take photographs of homeless people on the streets.
Kim had experienced homelessness first-hand when she was younger. After her parents separated — Kim was only five years old at the time— her father disappeared and the family fell on hard times.
She remembers struggling to find a permanent residence and hopping between friends’ homes, cars and even parks.
She told Nextshark, “I gravitated towards the homeless because in some ways I identified with their struggle…I understood their struggle because I struggled in the same way.”
Nine years later, while working on her project, she realized on of her homeless subjects on the streets of Honolulu was in fact her own father.
She remembers her first encounter with him as “devastating.” She could hardly recognize him and he definitely could not recognize her.
He had been suffering from schizophrenia and was mostly unresponsive. Kim came to see him countless times and sometimes would just sit next to him and pray for a miracle. He would refuse all help she offered him.
One day, her father had a heart attack on the streets and a bystander called the police and had him taken to the hospital. That heart attack became the thing that would save his life. Finally receiving the the care he needed, Kim says he is now getting back on his feet to live a normal life.
The relationship between Kim and her father is still a work in progress but she says they are taking it day by day. She said,
“So long as we are alive in this world, every day is an opportunity to take hold of that ‘second chance.’ There is no failure unless you give up, and he never gave up. And I haven’t given up on him.”
You can check out more of Kim’s work on her website, The Homeless Paradise.