We’ve reported on transnational adoptions in the past, but Anh Ðào Kolbe’s photo project has allowed one unique group of adoptees to speak for themselves.
Kolbe’s "Misplaced Baggage" is a series of 47 portraits of Vietnamese adoptees who grew up in the U.S., U.K., Europe and Australia. Kolbe, who has also shot stories for Colorlines, named the portfolio "Misplaced Baggage" because she "found the inventive metaphor truly fitting, as all of us have baggage in our lives. Growing up adopted, I have always had this feeling of being misplaced and displaced. To this day, I continue to live out of unpacked boxes."
Born in Vietnam herself, Kolbe came to New York in 1972, was adopted by Greek and German parents and then grew up in the Middle East. She came back to the U.S. for college and, in 2003, returned to Vietnam for the first time to capture the intimate portraits for the photo essay.
Kolbe’s camera transforms her "misplaced and displaced" feelings into something positive and affirming. Through her lens, she has affirmed the existence of other Vietnamese adoptees from all over the world.
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