“By the Contents of Her Carry-On” By Jessica

“By the Contents of Her Carry-On”
This is the story of the international student. Several times a year, we find ourselves carrying on our shoulders everything we deem necessary to survive a day spent travelling from one home to another. And although there is a practical emphasis on the communal survival items that appear in every carry-on bag, there is also an artistic celebration of individuality, as demonstrated by the colorful personalities that shine through from each bag.

This is a written list of all of the items packed, included as a reference.
Bag 1: 21.5 hours
-Pens and things
-Comfy pants
-Korean passport


Bag 2: 53.5 hours
-Immigration documents
-Make-up pouch
-Hair brush
-Prayer clothing
-The Koran
-Books (The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith and The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hossaini)
-Kickboxing hand wrap
-2014 Agenda/Planner
-Small notebook
-Portable charger


Bag 3: 22 hours
-Korean iPhone
-American iPhone
-Mac computer
-iPhone charger, Mac charger
-Like a Splinter in Your Mind, Matt Lawrence
-5 Dialogues, Plato
-Green pen
-US passport
-Makeup products


Bag 4: 27 hours on average
-Neck pillow
-Pouch with earphones, earplugs, chapstick, candy
-Passport bag + documents
-Staedler pens
-Planner diary thing
-Phone and charger


Bag 5: 30 hours
-Banana backpack
-Food from country of origin (dried mangoes)
-Kendama (Japanese toy)
-Pleasure reading book (tends to be by Japanese author)
-Something I forgot to pack (bikini top)
-Pilipino passport wallet
-Laptop charger, iPod charger, iPhone charger

Bag 6: 26 hours
-Cold pills
-Contact lens case
-Traveling documents (Chinese passport)
-Book about Muji design
-Chinese currency (as bookmark)
-Mexican currency
-Traditional handicraft cloth tiger




Beatrice: I like your idea of depicting different people through their carryon items. Most people will pack generally similar items, but the details widely vary from person to person. I like how you’re able to give viewers a glimpse into various people’s stories – all traveling, but for different reasons. In terms of photography, I think I would have liked more of the items in the photos to be in focus. Having only certain items be in focus places more importance on just those items, which I’m not sure if you wanted or not, because that could change the meaning of the image. A wider angle to comfortably fit all of the items in some of the photos would also be nice.

Fernando: I feel like we have gone over most of this in person, but I’ll just go ahead and say again that I love your shots: I really enjoyed your photos both individually and as a group. I feel you take the meaning of “story” and use it in a slightly different way than what we would expect when we hear the word, however I feel that adds rather than subtracts from your work as a whole: it breaks with my expectations in an interesting way, and that’s great! Additionally, I would like to note how the “feel” of each picture is so impacted by the content and the organization of everyone’s purses: that alone is a clear trait of a quality picture! Keep it up!

Jacquelyn: What an interesting take on commonplace items that are usually glossed over upon first glance! I think that your series of stories is extremely realistic and oftentimes overlooked. When I read through the list of items packed in each bag, I was immediately reminded of several international friends who carried around similar artifacts. Unlike most of us (who take for granted being American citizens and carry our simple drivers’ licenses around for verification), one never knows what to expect being a foreigner in a new country; the best solution is to be over-prepared for all situations that could possibly arise. I know that when traveling abroad or even to another city, I pack items similar to Bag #3 – glasses, cell phone, chargers, pills, money, and an ID. It’s hard to imagine feeling like you’re always bringing along your entire identity with you, no matter where you go.

In terms of your artist’s statement and subject placement, I’m curious as to why you decided to illustrate this story. What drove you to depict the lives of travellers? Was it a personal experience that you wanted to bring to observation? I also really like the splash of colors in each of your photos. The only suggestion I have is to vary the perspectives of each photo; for example, perhaps you could photograph these objects from a farther vantage point, or edit a couple photos to black and white or another tint to convey deeper meaning

Stephen: It did take me a while to understand you photos (even having to ask a little question), but they are well represented of your international students lives. The diversity that the photo set conveys is really well charachterised through your selection, and it was lovely to have a small insight in to other peoples personnal day travellings. I have the impression of a frienship group between these individuals due to the similarities they contain between each bag. For me, I imagine a group of six 18-22 year old girls who travel the city together. It would have been nice to depict the start similarities and differences in each set in a more refined manner as the photos look a bit of a jumble sale mess, with pieces of their charachter getting hidden from view. I did like this set as it did bring about a travelling international world that we live in.

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