HoC: From the Midwest to the Golden State

Humans of Chaffey

Ahram Park, Photo by Yzzy Arias

Ahram Park, Photo by Yzzy Arias

Ahram Park moved to Southern California four years ago as part of a career change. He previously lived in Kansas City, working in financial business after graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in economics, but later found the work "unfulfilling".

“Having Korean parents, I thought like, this is the safe way to go. This is the way you’re supposed to do things. I just didn’t get along," Park said, explaining that after a year he knew that business finance wasn’t for him. "It just wasn’t my people. I studied a lot of different things in school, but that was my degree; it was economics."

Shortly after, Park worked for museums and art galleries “to discover a new world that was interesting to [him].” One day, a gallery showed interest in displaying his photography. Back in Kansas City, Park identified as a self-taught photographer, and was nervous about debuting his photography. Since his first exhibit, Park’s work has been featured in galleries from his hometown to San Francisco.

“I didn’t even know that was possible, but that was my first introduction to the art world," he said. "I didn’t know what art was and its relationship to taking pictures.”

Once his photos received attention, Park decided to attend graduate school at University of California, Riverside and studied under a photographer named John Divola.

“Riverside was so different than Kansas City, but I found its charm. It’s the desert. It’s very beautiful,” Park said with deep admiration for the city.

Park has been out of graduate school for over a year and a half now and currently resides in East Los Angeles. When he is not doing freelance work, he commutes to Chaffey twice a week to teach his only class, Intro to Digital Photography. Park describes his commute to Chaffey as "worth it because [he] loves teaching."

“I like to give my all towards my students," as he continues to describes how learning from his students and his students learning from him as a two-way road, "I like to really focus and figure out how to become a better teacher. I am always learning from my students on how to become a better teacher.”

Park hopes to teach more photography classes, and continue to make the drive out to Rancho Cucamonga.

“[Chaffey] has an excellent program for photographers. Very nice facilities, very supported, and great faculty," said Park.