Boundary of self is a fiction.
I’m what Cornell Capa considered to be a “concerned photographer.” These days, just about any photographer who is sensitive to what feels like a world of multiplying social injustices must qualify. I have a particular interest in protecting the environment as well, and the two go hand-in-hand: we’re beginning a long march, so to speak, toward a period of global climgration (migration caused by climate change) – impacting and exacerbating a host of critical issues.
I’ve chosen a couple areas of interest to focus on in response, including unapologetic support of the promising (if not idealistic – something we need!) Young Progressives of America. The politics of progressivism is not a photographic project, yet, but my participation in the Women’s March on Washington, among several others, and a relationship to members of the Lakota Sioux in Standing Rock, North Dakota, has produced engaging photography that intends to influence in viewers an empathetic position. Recent time spent navigating the (figurative) minefield of Afghanistan was an intense experience that further drives my sense of urgency to capture and convey the cultural heritage of fragile societies that are on the brink of either destruction or implosion. I can name several; sometimes erosion is hard to detect until the bottom drops out.
Having lived in five countries and spent time in well over 50 has imbued my photographic perspective with a certain sensitivity that comes from fully immersive travel experiences. I only began photographing seriously about 12 years ago – long enough for some, late for embarking on a lifetime passion. That said, I wasn’t quite ready before then – preoccupied as I was with living in Saudi Arabia or Singapore, or adjusting to five years of life in Japan. There was a sort of inventory of life experiences I had to absorb before translating my philosophy, which took years to fully congeal, into a photographic vision. I’m grateful for the necessary time spent in creative gestation.
It’s also helped that I’ve been in marketing for more than 25 years, having earned my credentials and several awards in the business world. This has chiseled and honed a significant facet of my creative style, which spans corporate strategy (especially in the field of sustainability), graphic design, copy writing, video production, web development and most anything that has required creative ideas to shape rhetorical messaging. I’ve been lucky to work professionally as the person I actually am.
The takeaway is that, as suggested elsewhere, we are all inherently connected. I’m baffled by the taking of knee-jerk political positions that build walls around narrow-minded and homogeneous thinking, which itself springs from fear. Real solutions don’t come about through exclusion, but (however trite this might sound) acts of inclusion – whose root word “include” is an apt description for the container on which we all live: Planet Earth. Contrary to forces trying to pull us apart, the colorful threads of diversity are what bind the world closer together, much like an Afghan rug or a handmade Mexican scarf, whose strength is derived from the alternating warp and weft of their fibers. Our strength and, I suspect, future depends on taking an interwoven approach.
Hopefully some of that colorful diversity comes through in my photographs, most of which I have yet to take. And that’s the cool thing about taking pictures: there is so much of this amazing world to discover, it only takes positive intent, and perhaps a well-meaning aim, to easily see.
Sometimes to get to the place that you are depends on the person you were.