The New York photographer reinventing Larry Clark’s Kids for Asian kids

In a photo project titled Asian Kids, photographer Gabriel Chiu went around New York shooting East Asian teenagers smoking, riding the subway, bunking off and making out.

Larry Clark’s Kids, the 1995 coming-of-age film that thrilled teens and revolted parents in equal measure, doesn’t have a single main Asian cast member in its 90-minute run time.

With it being set in New York, home to an estimated 1.2m people of Asian descent (growing by 430,000 since 1990), it had photographer Gabriel Chiu thinking – why the hell not?

With its teen hooligans skating around the city and storylines ping-ponging from virginity to drugs to AIDS, it forced Chiu to confront the stereotypes he had dealt with growing up in Boston, as part of a first-generation Chinese family.

We’re seen as a scholastic and conservative community, which is cool because we generally can be,” the 27-year old photographer says. But the thing is, it’s a stereotype that doesn’t apply to all Asians.”

Now based in New York, Chiu set out to sort of reinvent Kids in 2021. In a photo project titled Asian Kids, he went around the city shooting East Asian teenagers smoking, riding the subway, bunking off and making out – the stuff kids do to pass the time in those hazy years when everything sucks.

I wanted to show a different side to us that isn’t shown in the media,” he says.

Assistant: Josh Lee
Casting: Aton Crawley of Midland Agency
Models: Rebecca Yoo, Kevin Lin, Khaycee Lynch

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