Diana Kim grew up on the Island of Maui where her father was a photographer, which is where she first learned her trade. When her parents split, Kim began to live with friends and relatives, and she lost touch with her father who became “absent.” In 2003 Kim began a long-term photo-project about the homeless; in 2012, she made a shocking discovery. Kim found her father among the homeless she was documenting in Honolulu.


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“There were nights when I wouldn’t find him,” Kim told NBC News. “And other days when I least expected it, and he would be standing on the corner of a street. He suffered from severe schizophrenia, and left untreated, he was not always responsive. There were many instances when it appeared as if he was arguing with someone, but nobody was there.”

Kim continued to bring food to her father and urged him to seek treatment, but it wasn’t until a heart-attack in October 2014 that he was finally convinced. Today, Kim’s father is doing well: he is continuing his treatment, seeking a part-time job, and even has plans to visit his family in South Korea.

More info: dianakimphotography.com | homelessparadise.com | Facebook | Kickstarter (h/t: mymodernmet, nbcnews)

Diana Kim started to document the homeless in 2003

She learned about photography from her father, but lost touch with him when her parents divorced

Diana Kim with her father, 1988

In 2012, Kim was shocked to discover her father amongst the homeless she was was photographing

April 12, 2013

“I had been searching for my father for weeks and finally found him sitting behind a dumpster, tucked under a bush for shade”

October 10, 2013 / August 4, 2013

“He suffered from severe schizophrenia, and left untreated, he was not always responsive”

June 5, 2014

“There were many instances when it appeared as if he was arguing with someone, but nobody was there”

June 5, 2014

It was only after a heart-attack saw him hospitalized that Kim’s father agreed to seek treatment for his condition

October 20, 2014

“I gave my old camera to my dad, in hopes of sparking his interest in photography and giving him something to look forward to. I want him to stay in this good place”

December 2014

After just a few months, he was significantly better. “It felt good to see him so health, and standing so tall again”

“My dad spends a lot time with friends and is actively looking for a job”

Diana Kim and her father, 2015

Kim told NextShark, “I have learned to continue embracing personal and spiritual challenges as an opportunity for growth”

“Life itself is a gift. I am so grateful to see him alive and doing better. I appreciate what we have right here, right now”

July 17, 2015