“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
When my instructor for Design Lab I asked us to come up with ideas for our first semester final project, I immediately knew what I wanted to do. It could be the countless hours of TED talks I listen to or Tony Robins voice telling me how I need to be the greatest version of myself, but I decided to photograph people and their dreams for my final project. Mainly because I am inspired by people and their stories.
Although being General Manager at Phoenix Asian Cuisine for the past twelve years has been a blessing, it was never my passion. I never woke up dreaming about being a manager of an upscale restaurant, nor was it ever a childhood dream of mine to become one. Life kind of happens and you roll with it. I will say, one of the perks of working in the restaurant industry is that you get to meet so many fascinating people; employees and guests alike. I always made it a point to get to know each and every staff member and the one question that always seems to come up is; what do you want to do with your life? With guests, it was always; “So, what do you do?” Seeing their eyes light up when answering these questions is what inspired me.
Most of our staff comprised of college students so I was always inspired by the young working college student. Serving tables to support themselves while trying to reach their dreams and aspirations. In this series, each individual I photographed has one particular dream they aspire to be. My idea was to photograph them in the restaurant “After Hours”; which I titled the project. I wanted to capture each individual in a raw moment where they are alone in a restaurant after it has been closed. The spotlight on them after a long day’s work committing their time, after hours, to work on their dream job.