Kia Labeija

  • Kia LaBeija, Eleven, 2015.
Going to doctors’ appointments is a very big part of my life, yet it’s so intimate that I rarely talk about it. My primary physician says that the day my parents and I came into his office was a defining moment in his career. That was in 1994, when I was four years old. I have been seeing him ever since. In the photograph, he is drawing my blood, as he would during any other appointment. I’m wearing my prom dress because when I first began to see him, no one knew if I would make it to prom. It’s titled Eleven because when I took it it, I had spent eleven birthdays without my mother.

    Kia LaBeija

    WHENEVER I COME INTO A SPACE, I imagine what stories it has to tell. It’s vital that the locations I choose for my portraits have a strong history. I began this work out of my home in New York’s Hellz Kitchen five years ago, while I was studying at the New School. I was afraid of losing the apartment I grew up in, so I began to photograph it. I was only fourteen years old when my mother died from an AIDS-related illness. It changed something within me. It taught me that nothing is permanent.

    When I was a girl I promised myself that I would be brave enough to tell my story. I understood the power