I’ve always been keenly interested in the different ways in which people find meaning in their lives. When I was a child, I could look at an image and feel as if I could walk into it. It is a magnificent feeling to be invited into another person’s private world, to witness their history and the inner working of what makes them who they are. My work thrives on this intimate connection.
I approach the people I photograph, with consideration and sensitivity. I want the people I am photographing to understand who I am and what my purpose is. Their permission and their understanding of my respect for them are essential in my process.
In my view, people are the most sensitive of “subjects” to be photographed. Achieving trust—even with the camera positioned between us—is a genuinely heartwarming experience; it’s that feeling that keeps me on the road. These experiences, along with the resulting images, stir my soul. These people are not my subjects; they are my mentors.
As Life photographer Ralph Morse said: “Photography is more than art, it’s knowledge.” In my genre of photography, I rely on intuition and sensitivity to document the lives of the extraordinary people I’ve had the privilege to meet and to preserve and share their moments of emotion and dignity.
The integrity of the reproduction process is as important to me as the moment of connection I’ve captured. By overseeing every detail, I strive for a magnificent display of color with the precise hue, value, and intensity of each print.
Through my work, I wish to encourage a dialogue about the beauty, diversity, and hardship of our interlocking world. The more meaning born in the image, the deeper that dialogue can be.
When I am moved by something so powerfully as I have been by the knowledge of modern day slavery, I have found that fear takes a backseat to my sheer commitment to bring awareness to something of such great injustice. The mission of igniting others to change through visual storytelling is the one weapon I have to fight this injustice. I can’t sleep without doing something, and I have the faith that the viewers of these photographs will feel the same way and be moved to make a stand for change.
I believe that a sound work of art should be captivating each time it is viewed. A viewer from any place or walk of life can be in direct relationship with the image and therefore the subject within it – and be emotionally and viscerally moved. I aim to enhance my viewers’ awareness and engage them in a visual journey that is also a questioning of our existence, and very often, a call to action.
I want the people who experience my work to have the opportunity to gaze into the eyes of the “other” and find there a familiarity. I want to welcome them into the exploration of our mysterious lives with a spirit of curiosity, astonishment. And hope.