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Becoming an ArtistAn-My Lê

June 5, 2008

When An-My Lê describes her transition from biology student to artist, she claims that she really didn’t know what she should do. “As any responsible child of an immigrant, I knew I should do something that would be more practical. My brothers were engineers and went to business school, and I thought engineering would be too dry; so I thought, why not biology and become a doctor?” Lê recalls, while printing a photograph from the series Trap Rock (2006) in her New York studio.

Within her photography and films, Lê examines the ramifications and representations of war, reflecting on U.S. foreign policy’s role in her own life as both a perpetrator of violence and as a savior.

More information and credits


Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Lizzie Donahue. Artwork courtesy: An-Me Lê.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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An-My Lê

An-My Lê’s photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness.

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An-My Lê

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An-My Lê

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“I was allowed to take a non-science course, and I wanted to take drawing but it was filled up. So I took photography. And immediately, I realized that it was something that was truly amazing and that it could really change my life.”

An-My Lê

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Artist An-My Lê discusses her childhood, and how her background has influenced her worldview and her work.

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