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After 10 Years Of Photographing Homeless People, Photographer Discovers Her Own Father Among Them
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People, Photography6 years ago

After 10 Years Of Photographing Homeless People, Photographer Discovers Her Own Father Among Them

Diana Kim grew up on the Island of Maui where her father was a professional 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 series about homeless people; in 2012, she made a shocking discovery. Kim found her father among the homeless she was documenting in Honolulu.

“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 mental health treatment, but it wasn’t until a heart attack in October 2014 that he was finally convinced. Today, Kim’s father is no longer a homeless person and 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

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GraceInRainbows
Community Member
6 years ago

I'm so glad you found each other!

TrishaYoung
Community Member
6 years ago

i love how well he looks - hopefully he continues in this new direction and that you can continue to rebuild your relationship with your father

JackieDrown
Community Member
6 years ago

That is a beautiful story. It is so important to stay in touch with one of the most important people in one's life.

CommentaryFortytwo
Community Member
6 years ago

Every homeless person has a story. Many suffer from mental, emotional, and physical problems that could be treated. If we diverted even a fraction of our military spending into mental health programs it would make a big difference. We used to give people who could not care for themselves a safe place to live and receive treatment. Now we turn them out on the street to fend for themselves and just look away when we see them.

chachkimooch
Community Member
6 years ago

What a remarkable woman! She's in inspiration!

SharonStapf
Community Member
6 years ago

I am so glad you were able to reconnect and make such a positive difference for him at a time when he needed you. You are both so lucky to have each other.

Gabriellest
Community Member
6 years ago

Diana...you are a fantastic human! and so is your Papa! What a beautiful story of hope and reconciliation.

AliRezaSohel
Community Member
6 years ago

Really it is very touching story. Feel happy by knowing it.

Khalid
Community Member
6 years ago

Hi, Diana Kim. God bless u for your kindness.

BettyVisotski
Community Member
6 years ago

They are both so very lucky to have found each other.

JudithBalint
Community Member
6 years ago

A story with a good ending. Was it Karma? A good luck? A Miracle? Coincident?! I don't know, but it's an amazing story how a girl helping, photographing homeless people not only found his father between them, but could help him overcome sickness and hopelessness, given him value and meaning to became a connected human again.

LyoneFein
Community Member
6 years ago

Very powerful story. It made me think about my own father, who I have not seen or spoken to in over 20 years.

eros007
Community Member
6 years ago

I am so happy for the two of you and that it has been moving so well towards success. You must feel so blessed and proud!

cpd228
Community Member
6 years ago

Wonderful story! Happy ending!

ShelleyOleniacz-Moore
Community Member
6 years ago

Thank you Diana for sharing your story. I'm so happy you found your dad,and now you have each other. Just think of all the new and wonderful memories you will get to share.

MayBenot
Community Member
6 years ago

I had a similar story like that with my father. We were estranged after years of drug abuse during most of my childhood and adult life. He ended up with nothing on the street and I ran into him and it was heart breaking. He didn't want to change until he had a heart attack. My husband and I paid for 1 yr of rehab. He is now working and living sober for 1.5 yrs. He and I speak every day and are working on rebuilding our relationship. Still feels like a dream!

MarkieAsbill
Community Member
6 years ago

thats amazing! made me cry :)

pajd
Community Member
6 years ago

Me too and that he so much better.

Catherine
Community Member
6 years ago

wowee. wonderful.

SumirRaghoonandan
Community Member
6 years ago

You father before and after ... drastic change love can make to a person.

MaryThereseVillafuerte-Barja
Community Member
6 years ago

this is such a tearjerker. one of the best stories read here so far

DonGuild
Community Member
6 years ago

It was a sad story with a happy ending, It was a good thing that she found him and helped to improve his life.

KatieCollins
Community Member
6 years ago

This gives me hope. Someday my son will return. I have to believe.

DeenaJeNiro
Community Member
6 years ago

I absolutely understand why she said, "right here, right now". Having the illness is so difficult for family because at any time the person will stop treatment and will decline and it will be more severely after treatment. Wishing them both many, many years of togetherness, health and continued successful treatment for the dad...

LunaIndigo
Community Member
6 years ago

HEartwarming

BettinaLedesma
Community Member
6 years ago

Humanity caring for each other, it was perfect for Sharing in Face Book.Each image, an story.

SusannaVesna
Community Member
6 years ago

That is amazing to see how people get another chance at life! Wishing you both happiness together! Dont lose each other again! <3

TugrulAslan
Community Member
6 years ago

Its good that she'd helped her old man out, I am sure there will be a good return for it from karma :)

ikayuliana
Community Member
6 years ago

So Touching story... May God always bless u and ur father

DanCG
Community Member
6 years ago

excuse me I just got something in my eye

RajJoul
Community Member
6 years ago

I'm happy for both of you

FeeonaOmega
Community Member
6 years ago

May God Bless you Diana ...

Juan-CarlosSaez
Community Member
6 years ago

the miracle of caring will save us all

Nguyễn Khắc Thanh
Community Member
1 year ago

Wish you two health and happiness

Glenda Braga
Community Member
3 years ago

This makes me shed a tear, a beautiful story of relationship... I love that they remembered each other. That is what family is all about - You take care of each other no matter what.

Sandra-CheetahTaylor
Community Member
6 years ago

lovely story,im glad hes back in shape,thanks to his daughter....

MaCeciliaTabuena
Community Member
6 years ago

Thank you Diana for sharing this! Indeed, a really touching story about reuniting with your father! God bless you both!

Keanureaves
Community Member
6 years ago

Wow, talk about one of the craziest stories :0 but so B-E-A-UTIFUL!!!

DonnaLCosimano
Community Member
6 years ago

So brave of both of them to share! Thanks for the gift.

RollinsJohn
Community Member
6 years ago

I hope he recovers completely. Your pics are good!

Annie
Community Member
6 years ago

If only I could gather all the praising words in this comment <3

EllenEmpson
Community Member
6 years ago

What a story of redemption, Rebirth and reconnection!!!

JenniferGoodson
Community Member
6 years ago

BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEINGS INDEED!:)

JenniferGoodson
Community Member
6 years ago

Beautiful HUMAN BEINGS ...INDEED! :) thank U

LucyLing
Community Member
6 years ago

Very touching story! Brought tears to my eyes! Good for both of you!

AiMcSa
Community Member
6 years ago

My dads homeless in Lahaina, Maui. I keep in contact with him too - wonder if you've ever photographed him. His nickname is "fish man" and wears straw hat and white jeans with rainbow crosses.

AlexGreen
Community Member
6 years ago

Extremely bittersweet

Lsc3112
Community Member
6 years ago

I have started crying

Jeźi
Community Member
6 years ago

I cried from happiness

VenaSabat
Community Member
6 years ago

So remarkable seeing the changes in him chronicled through her daughter's photos

LaceyBrown
Community Member
6 years ago

What a great story with a happy ending.

BarbaraHarrell
Community Member
6 years ago

What an awesome story...what an awesome daughter...Keep up your work..and I hope your dad continues to get healthy.

DanCG
Community Member
6 years ago

excuse me I just got something in my eye

PeterLedoux
Community Member
6 years ago

Amazing recovery, Happy for you both. God bless

HollyRamsay
Community Member
6 years ago

love is such a powerful thing..this is so powerful thanks for sharing xxxx

PaulaSidgreaves
Community Member
6 years ago

Such a beautiful story - brought a tear to my eye. May your relationship continue to grow and blossom.

PaulaShiu
Community Member
6 years ago

thats kinof amazing. He needed anti-psychotics.

AutumnMidhir
Community Member
6 years ago

I work with people with mental illness and mental disabilities and this is an extremely inspiring story. I hope they both are able to move forward and achieve great things.

AlinaGrace
Community Member
6 years ago

Awwww

JojoBonobo
Community Member
6 years ago

false story but nice pictures

MånsÅkesson
Community Member
6 years ago

How do you know it's false?

Load More Replies...
GraceInRainbows
Community Member
6 years ago

I'm so glad you found each other!

TrishaYoung
Community Member
6 years ago

i love how well he looks - hopefully he continues in this new direction and that you can continue to rebuild your relationship with your father

JackieDrown
Community Member
6 years ago

That is a beautiful story. It is so important to stay in touch with one of the most important people in one's life.

CommentaryFortytwo
Community Member
6 years ago

Every homeless person has a story. Many suffer from mental, emotional, and physical problems that could be treated. If we diverted even a fraction of our military spending into mental health programs it would make a big difference. We used to give people who could not care for themselves a safe place to live and receive treatment. Now we turn them out on the street to fend for themselves and just look away when we see them.

chachkimooch
Community Member
6 years ago

What a remarkable woman! She's in inspiration!

SharonStapf
Community Member
6 years ago

I am so glad you were able to reconnect and make such a positive difference for him at a time when he needed you. You are both so lucky to have each other.

Gabriellest
Community Member
6 years ago

Diana...you are a fantastic human! and so is your Papa! What a beautiful story of hope and reconciliation.

AliRezaSohel
Community Member
6 years ago

Really it is very touching story. Feel happy by knowing it.

Khalid
Community Member
6 years ago

Hi, Diana Kim. God bless u for your kindness.

BettyVisotski
Community Member
6 years ago

They are both so very lucky to have found each other.

JudithBalint
Community Member
6 years ago

A story with a good ending. Was it Karma? A good luck? A Miracle? Coincident?! I don't know, but it's an amazing story how a girl helping, photographing homeless people not only found his father between them, but could help him overcome sickness and hopelessness, given him value and meaning to became a connected human again.

LyoneFein
Community Member
6 years ago

Very powerful story. It made me think about my own father, who I have not seen or spoken to in over 20 years.

eros007
Community Member
6 years ago

I am so happy for the two of you and that it has been moving so well towards success. You must feel so blessed and proud!

cpd228
Community Member
6 years ago

Wonderful story! Happy ending!

ShelleyOleniacz-Moore
Community Member
6 years ago

Thank you Diana for sharing your story. I'm so happy you found your dad,and now you have each other. Just think of all the new and wonderful memories you will get to share.

MayBenot
Community Member
6 years ago

I had a similar story like that with my father. We were estranged after years of drug abuse during most of my childhood and adult life. He ended up with nothing on the street and I ran into him and it was heart breaking. He didn't want to change until he had a heart attack. My husband and I paid for 1 yr of rehab. He is now working and living sober for 1.5 yrs. He and I speak every day and are working on rebuilding our relationship. Still feels like a dream!

MarkieAsbill
Community Member
6 years ago

thats amazing! made me cry :)

pajd
Community Member
6 years ago

Me too and that he so much better.

Catherine
Community Member
6 years ago

wowee. wonderful.

SumirRaghoonandan
Community Member
6 years ago

You father before and after ... drastic change love can make to a person.

MaryThereseVillafuerte-Barja
Community Member
6 years ago

this is such a tearjerker. one of the best stories read here so far

DonGuild
Community Member
6 years ago

It was a sad story with a happy ending, It was a good thing that she found him and helped to improve his life.

KatieCollins
Community Member
6 years ago

This gives me hope. Someday my son will return. I have to believe.

DeenaJeNiro
Community Member
6 years ago

I absolutely understand why she said, "right here, right now". Having the illness is so difficult for family because at any time the person will stop treatment and will decline and it will be more severely after treatment. Wishing them both many, many years of togetherness, health and continued successful treatment for the dad...

LunaIndigo
Community Member
6 years ago

HEartwarming

BettinaLedesma
Community Member
6 years ago

Humanity caring for each other, it was perfect for Sharing in Face Book.Each image, an story.

SusannaVesna
Community Member
6 years ago

That is amazing to see how people get another chance at life! Wishing you both happiness together! Dont lose each other again! <3

TugrulAslan
Community Member
6 years ago

Its good that she'd helped her old man out, I am sure there will be a good return for it from karma :)

ikayuliana
Community Member
6 years ago

So Touching story... May God always bless u and ur father

DanCG
Community Member
6 years ago

excuse me I just got something in my eye

RajJoul
Community Member
6 years ago

I'm happy for both of you

FeeonaOmega
Community Member
6 years ago

May God Bless you Diana ...

Juan-CarlosSaez
Community Member
6 years ago

the miracle of caring will save us all

Nguyễn Khắc Thanh
Community Member
1 year ago

Wish you two health and happiness

Glenda Braga
Community Member
3 years ago

This makes me shed a tear, a beautiful story of relationship... I love that they remembered each other. That is what family is all about - You take care of each other no matter what.

Sandra-CheetahTaylor
Community Member
6 years ago

lovely story,im glad hes back in shape,thanks to his daughter....

MaCeciliaTabuena
Community Member
6 years ago

Thank you Diana for sharing this! Indeed, a really touching story about reuniting with your father! God bless you both!

Keanureaves
Community Member
6 years ago

Wow, talk about one of the craziest stories :0 but so B-E-A-UTIFUL!!!

DonnaLCosimano
Community Member
6 years ago

So brave of both of them to share! Thanks for the gift.

RollinsJohn
Community Member
6 years ago

I hope he recovers completely. Your pics are good!

Annie
Community Member
6 years ago

If only I could gather all the praising words in this comment <3

EllenEmpson
Community Member
6 years ago

What a story of redemption, Rebirth and reconnection!!!

JenniferGoodson
Community Member
6 years ago

BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEINGS INDEED!:)

JenniferGoodson
Community Member
6 years ago

Beautiful HUMAN BEINGS ...INDEED! :) thank U

LucyLing
Community Member
6 years ago

Very touching story! Brought tears to my eyes! Good for both of you!

AiMcSa
Community Member
6 years ago

My dads homeless in Lahaina, Maui. I keep in contact with him too - wonder if you've ever photographed him. His nickname is "fish man" and wears straw hat and white jeans with rainbow crosses.

AlexGreen
Community Member
6 years ago

Extremely bittersweet

Lsc3112
Community Member
6 years ago

I have started crying

Jeźi
Community Member
6 years ago

I cried from happiness

VenaSabat
Community Member
6 years ago

So remarkable seeing the changes in him chronicled through her daughter's photos

LaceyBrown
Community Member
6 years ago

What a great story with a happy ending.

BarbaraHarrell
Community Member
6 years ago

What an awesome story...what an awesome daughter...Keep up your work..and I hope your dad continues to get healthy.

DanCG
Community Member
6 years ago

excuse me I just got something in my eye

PeterLedoux
Community Member
6 years ago

Amazing recovery, Happy for you both. God bless

HollyRamsay
Community Member
6 years ago

love is such a powerful thing..this is so powerful thanks for sharing xxxx

PaulaSidgreaves
Community Member
6 years ago

Such a beautiful story - brought a tear to my eye. May your relationship continue to grow and blossom.

PaulaShiu
Community Member
6 years ago

thats kinof amazing. He needed anti-psychotics.

AutumnMidhir
Community Member
6 years ago

I work with people with mental illness and mental disabilities and this is an extremely inspiring story. I hope they both are able to move forward and achieve great things.

AlinaGrace
Community Member
6 years ago

Awwww

JojoBonobo
Community Member
6 years ago

false story but nice pictures

MånsÅkesson
Community Member
6 years ago

How do you know it's false?

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