By S. C. Samoy, RISE Director of Operations & Communications
By day, Lidiya Kan teaches students about commercial photography and is an administrator of higher education at LaGuardia Community College. By night, she takes care of her eleven-month-old daughter. And somewhere in between, Kan flexes her artistic muscles as a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Check out Morchovcha (Korean Carrot Salad) and Genesis.
This time around, her subjects have been the surfers of the Rockaways. She began shooting folks she knew and strangers who eventually became friends, from the Beach 60s to the Beach 100s. The project consists of a series of portraits of Rockaway residents, beachgoers, and surfer enthusiasts; photographs of the ever-changing seascape throughout all four seasons.
“I started the project in 2018, and before that, I had only traveled to Rockaway once. In the summer of 2018, I was looking for a ‘new’ (to me) place to photograph, new people to meet, and new activity to occupy myself with. I took surfing classes with Locals, made new friends, and am still photographing Rockaway. During the pandemic, it became my family’s favorite staycation destination. Those who know me well can tell you that I am not a beach person, but I certainly became a Rockaway person.”
Five years later, select images from the ongoing series “Wilderness Pursuit” are on display at RISE (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity), 58-03 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The two-week exhibit is a preview of sorts. The main exhibition will be at LaGuardia later in the fall. Both shows are courtesy of her having been awarded a grant from Queens Arts Fund, presented by New York Foundation for the Arts in partnership with New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.