The Visitors - Artist Statement

For this project, I have photographed willing visitors to the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Waimea Bay Beach Park, and the Honolulu Museum of Art. While subjects are dressed in their contemporary street clothes, many are posed in reference to the formal Victorian portraiture conventions common at photography's popular inception. The poses often leave the modern-day subjects looking out of place, or result in poetically weaving their presence in and out of time.

Like their 19th century counterparts, the subjects' clothing and belongings can be read as costumes and props which provide clues about their personal and cultural identities. These clues reveal the global movement of ideas, people, and objects, as well as the aspects of preservation apparent in the selected locations. The chosen locations form a loosely representative triad of history, nature, and culture. The categories overlap, merge, and fold over on themselves to create an image of a world in which we all traverse as mere or mighty visitors.

The Visitors - Exhibition Texts

Battleship Missouri Memorial

Nicknamed the “Mightly Mo,” The USS Missouri is an Iowa-class battleship, measuring 887 feet in length and weighing 58,000 tons when fully loaded. She is capable of firing 1,800 lb. Shells (as heavy as a Volkswagen) over 23 miles. The Missouri was launched on Jan. 29, 1944. She served in the Pacific in World War II, later served in the Korean War, and was refurbished to serve in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. The USS Missouri is perhaps most famous as the site of the ceremony for the signing of the Formal Instrument of Surrender between Japan and the Allied Forces, which officially ending World War II on September 2, 1945. The ceremony was conducted by General Douglass A. MacArthur on the deck of the ship.

In 1992, the Missouri was decommissioned, and in 1998 her care was assigned to the USS Missouri Memorial Association. She is now resides at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor and is open to the public as a museum. Visitors can take a guided tour of the deck and then climb above and below to explore the gun turrets, command centers, lounges, mess halls, library, snack shop, post office, heads, officer's quarters, enlisted's bunks, boiler room, and other spaces utilized by the crew of approximately 1,500 men.


Waimea Bay Beach Park

Waimea Bay became the first point of contact between Europeans and Hawaiians on Oahu when Capt. Charles Clerke aboard HMS Resolution stopped at Waimea Bay on February 28, 1779. The ship had just sailed from Kealakekua Bay, where Capt. James Cook had been killed days before. The crew's reception on Oahu proved to be friendly.

Waimea Bay and the valley behind it have long been sacred sites for the Hawaiian people. The remains of an important heiau, or temple, still overlook the bay. St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church also now overlooks the bay. The church has become a landmark because of its tall steeple, originally built as a rock crushing tower for a quarry that stood on the spot. The excavation in the area cleared the way for the 1920s construction of Kamehameha Highway, which circles the island.

Today, Waimea Bay draws visitors from around the island and around the world. In the summertime, when the crystal-clear water is calm, beach-goers come to swim, snorkel, dive, and “jump rock” off the large boulder in the bay. In the winter, they come to watch the big wave surfers ride the waves at one of the best surf breaks in the world. Some credit the perfecting of the surf break to the removal of over 200,000 tons of sand from the bay in the 1950s-60s to supplement the beaches in Waikiki.   


Honolulu Academy of Arts

The Honolulu Academy of Arts was founded by Anna Rice Cooke, daughter of New England Missionaries, in 1922. It is located on the Beretania Street property where her house once stood. The original collection was comprised of artwork from the private collections of her family members. The museum was designed to take into account the climate and diverse cultures of Hawaii, with culturally themed, open-air courtyards as passage between exhibits. At the opening of the museum on April 8, 1927 Cooke made the following dedication: 

"That our children of many nationalities and races, born far from the centers of art, may receive an intimation of their own cultural legacy and wake to the ideals embodied in the arts of their neighbors ... that Hawaiians, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Northern Europeans and all other people living here, contacting through the channel of art those deep intuitions common to all, may perceive a foundation on which a new culture, enriched by the old strains may be built in the islands."