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Peacemaker Interview

  1. What does visual peacemaking mean to you?

    Using images to bring people closer together by showing commonality of humanity. No matter what race, region, or religion, we all have common needs, desires, and rights.  As a photographer, images are a large part of our voice.  If we are striving to bring peace in the world, it will be reflected in the imagery we create. 

  2. What motivates you to be a peacemaker?

    I see people who have hope, but don’t have peace whether, physical, ideological, or within their spirit, and I want to help change their situation.  Having traveled as much as I have and seen people who don’t have been persecuted because of religion, race, tribe, or because of oppressive governments - I want to see change that brings peace instead of oppression. 

  3. Have you ever felt stereotyped?

    I think that everyone is stereotyped the second that someone looks at them and makes a judgement about them based on what they see or perceive.  I can’t say that I have ever felt a negative stereotype that many people feel on a daily basis.  Every time I travel, I am instantly stereotyped as a “rich white man from the United States” and in many circumstances they try to take advantage of me.  Granted, I am rich in comparison, but many times not to the point perceived. 

    I also think that being a photographer can instantly be a negative stereotype to overcome in many countries.  It is also why I stress that photographers make relationships before they make pictures.  Once relationships are made, stereotypes are broken down and people realize that you aren’t trying to capitalize on their misfortune. 

  4. How does your camera get you to reflect on your world and your life?

    My camera gives me a way to meet people I would otherwise never meet and be inspired by people that create so much good in the world with very little available to them to work with.  I often find myself hoping to make an impact even a fraction of the people I photograph.  People are inspiring and the story of their lives are amazing. 

  5. What do you like to photograph best?

    People.  I’m trying to branch out and focus on scenery and elements, but I am always drawn to photographing people.  Their are so many stories that can be seen in the face and gestures when people are in a photograph.  Elderly people who have been weathered by life and have stories written into each wrinkle of their face and have wisdom of a life lived fully are my absolute favorite. 

  6. What technical aspect of photography do you find most challenging?

    Off-camera flash.  Because I shoot both photos and video, my biggest challenge is being setup to do both well without my camera being cumbersome and distracting to the people I photograph.  My best photos come when I setup to shoot b-roll and have my camera setup to capture photos.  When I am focusing on video, that changes the lenses I choose, my shutter speed, and photos I capture.  Most of my shots are in the moment and not posed, so off-camera flash becomes difficult when also exposing for video. 

  7. Is there a particular group you feel is misunderstood or stereotyped that you’d like to document common humanity amongst?

    I’m particularly drawn to the Fulani people of Niger.  Even in Niger they are stereotyped and considered to be the butt of most jokes.  I admire that they like to removed from society and live off the land.  They are very colorful people who have a lot of difficulties due to drought and and poor living conditions in the desert.  I have found that they pull together and care for their community.  I’ve been able to do some work with them, but would love to have more time to really document and show how their comment works. 

  8. Do you have an idea worth sharing?

    Care more about the people than the pictures of the people.  Doing this will allow you to be humble, respect the people, and come away with shots you wouldn’t get otherwise. 

My Biography

As a humanitarian photographer and video producer, I’ve been able to travel the globe telling stories of hope in adverse circumstances. My goal is to preserve the dignity of the people I meet, while simultaneously documenting their needs. I believe that photographs say much about the person who took them and that they are a glimpse into their world through the photographer’s eye. There are many tools at our disposal that help us tell great stories – starting with our choice of what is in the frame, what is left out, what is in focus, the lens we use, the type of lighting and the amount time we spend getting to know what is important to our subject. The decisions I make about these choices reflect what I want to say about the people I meet and the stories they tell.

For me, photographs are a glimpse into the many different areas of our life here on earth. I hear a story and it starts a collage of images in my mind as I try to understand the people, time, and place that surrounded it. It is this collage that I hope to create when I capture moments of everyday life. It is truly an honor for me to tell these stories as we work together to end cycles of suffering around the world.

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