Nikki S. Lee

Born as Lee Sueng-Hee in Korea. Lee’s first intentions was to have a career as a movie actress. However her parents didn’t approve of entering cinema school but did approve of her interest in photography. She started her photography career as an assistant to fashion photographer David LaChapelle. In 1999 she pursued her own work and was quickly noticed after her first exhibition in New York.

Lee is best known for her Projects series in which she practiced and performed the codes and visual signs of specific American Sub-cultures, including yuppies, swing dancers, drag queens, hip hop fans, and senior citizens. Pretty much a point and shoot camera wielded by a member of the selected group. Lee believes her identity is fluid and that her projects were extensions of herself.

I think her work is important because it shows that culturally we are constricted to just having one identity. Part of the reason is our society and the ingrained belief that we can only be this or that and anyone breaking those barriers are seen in a negative light.

My opinion is WHO CARES it shouldn’t matter if someone wants to be fluid with their identity and no identity is “wrong” unless its detrimental to ones life. One should have the freedom to pick and choose who they want to be and how they represent themselves. If I want to hang with the cool kids, the nerds, and the goths, etc I should be able to do that without being judged but unfortunately our society isn’t built like that.


Nikki S. Lee; Yuppie Project

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