Tehya Kealoha (she/her) is an photographer who has split her eighteen years of life between Hawaiʻi and Oregon.
“The color gray, a medium between black and white. Never belonging to one singular thing, existing in the in-between is where I’ve found myself for most of my life. Hawaiʻi and Oregon is my special gray. A direct split, nine years here, nine years there, sums up my eighteen years of existence. Throughout it all, representation and the gift of space has become incredibly important to me. This is why I set out to create a photojournalism series that is an extension of this duality, and what better vessel to deliver this through than black and white film.
I wanted to capture individuals who have an air of story at first glance and upon further contemplation show a level of vulnerability. Working solely with people I passed on the streets of downtown Honolulu, It was difficult to find the true diversity I was looking for which is partially why these pieces unintentionally are only of men, however, I was still able to keep the main component of authenticity throughout by capturing the subjects as candidly as possible. The randomized nature of photojournalism paired with the gritty medium of film, best encapsulates strangers in the way I encounter them within my day to day life.”
With familial and personal ties to both Hawaiʻi and Oregon, this artist draws a conceptual backing from the ‘middle-ground’ that black and white photography offers to her work. Speaking through her roots in both places, she is able to use film portraiture to highlight the complexities of identity and vulnerability she sees in herself as an individual from many backgrounds. This is something we wanted to highlight through our curatorial choices, and is well-represented within Kealoha’s simple yet poignant works.