Photographer Tommy Kha was searching for inspiration in his work a couple years ago. So, as many photographers do, he turned the lens to himself. Rather than be an active presence in his photographs, Kha became a vehicle for commentary, on both his role as an Asian man in culture and the photographer’s role in an image when taking snaps of the self.

What developed was his "Return to Sender" series, or, as his friends referred to it, “the kissing pictures.” Kha would set up his shot, then kiss a different subject when firing the camera. But rather than display over-energetic amorous feelings, in every single shot, Kha appears bored, resigned, apathetic, or in some cases, violated.

"It’s a way for me to talk about my differences while echoing the lack of representation reflected in the media," he told the Huffington Post, in regard to his ethnicity.

“I think [the motivation],” he told Slate “was wanting to belong, of wanting ‘to be seen,’ to be an object of desire (as the receiver of the kiss) but at the same time, to appear reserved and contradictory by denying the kiss.” 

At first, Kha was using his friends as models. But as time went on, he began approaching strangers to be the antagonist in his work. The result is fascinating—click through some of his shots above. 

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[via Huffington Post]