I didn’t quite fail out of Pre-Calculus my Junior year in high school, but I remember my teacher letting me know that I should probably not stay in the class, because no matter how hard I tried I could not comprehend the stuff enough to pass a single test. So I switched into a class called Far Eastern Studies. It was my first look at Asian art, history and philosophy, and for some reason the stuff really resonated with me. In college I had the opportunity to study this more in-depth, as well as spent half a semester traveling through Asia. As an art student the Zen philosophy that art is more about the process than the finished product was a huge influence for my work at the time which was abstract but totally personal and therapeutic.
Now, almost ten years later I am back in school studying photojournalism, and I have realized that I still embrace my process almost more than the photos I make in the end, especially in this early stage in my career as a photojournalist when I am constantly learning and my work improving. My process is about building relationships with my subjects so that I can best tell their story with my images. I am here not just because I am curious about how other people live their lives but because I care. I care about people’s stories, I think they are important and I want to be able to tell those stories in a compassionate and respectful way.
In some ways this terrifies me, that I might misrepresent someone, and I know that not everyone will understand or share my vision. But that’s no reason not to keep going, to keep trying, working and improving. I like to listen to Rusted Root, and Mofro and other music with high energy to get me fired up before I shoot. I run and I ride my bike to clear my head and process everything I am experiencing. I am so happy and thankful to be where I am. I am surrounded by some incredibly talented people which can be intimidating at times, but mostly inspiring. I am embarking on a pretty heavy load this quarter, but all on projects that I am so excited about. I look forward to writing more on my blog, so that I can be open about my process as a way for me to personally meditate on it, but also to share it, and hopefully open a dialogue. So feel free to comment and share this creative process with me.