When 52-year-old Virginia dad Jay Kwon Yang died of stomach cancer in 2012 without getting to fulfill his dream of traveling around the world, his grieving daughter Jinna Yang decided to pay tribute to her late father by taking him on the trip he never got to go on — well, in a manner of speaking.
For the entire month of April, 25-year-old Yang, who lives in New York, traveled across Europe with a portable life-sized cardboard cutout of her dad. Along the way, she posed for pictures with the cutout in front of a variety of famous iconic landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, Rome’s Colosseum, and more. After returning home, Yang posted the series of photos on her blog and social media accounts with the hashtag #ForMyFather. The pictures quickly went viral and it’s not hard to see why. Check out her collage of them below.
While some commenters have been quick to criticize Yang, even calling the photos fake, the vast majority has been touched by her gesture. "It is sad that people are questioning the authenticity of the entire project, but ... I am grateful for the positive support I've received from the community,” she told CNN.
Yang went on to say that she does edit the photos slightly to “clean up” the edges around the cutout, but that her goal wasn’t to make the pictures look staged. "The purpose of this project was not to make the perfect picture, but to bring peace to my family and inspire people to find hope and the courage to continue,” she said.
Inspired by her first journey abroad, Yang is planning on taking another European tour in July.
Personally, I find Yang’s photos beautiful and her gesture incredibly moving. Everyone has their own way of finding closure after a loved one passes away and this was clearly her method of finding peace with the loss of her dad. Good for her for taking it upon herself to embark on such an incredible journey on her own. Her dad may have only been there in cardboard form, but I’m sure his spirit was with her the whole way.