PREMONITION

Last night I had a premonition that all things are possible.  That we don’t have to suffer our way through life, or struggle towards joy.  That maybe we can simply “be” joyful, and be happy in life.  I am choosing this right now.  I love my life, I love the work I do, and on a daily basis I choose to meet interesting, inspiring people, and guess what, that is what happens.

 

This past weekend I gave a presentation at DIGITAL EXPO 2011 in Calgary, an amazing weekend for photographers with guest speakers, trade equipment and most importantly, community!  I spoke about my work as a humanitarian photographer, defining what it means from my perspective, how it differs from photo-journalism, and the direction it is taking me. 

 

Crucial to the way I operate, is the theme of connection.  That is how I work in field, by truly connecting with others, looking past the situations and circumstances that separate us, and aligning myself with them on a human level.  In taking photos that tell their story, my intention is to reconnect others to them.  What I often find is that despite their often extremely challenging lives, underneath that I am meeting interesting, inspiring people.  That the more severe the situation, the more uniquely brave, amazing and rewarding are the individuals I work with.  Here are a few, and I look forward to many more that I will never forget.

 

#1I met these women by getting up at dawn to walk around the village of Karikudi in the Chettinad region of India to beat the heat of the day.  They were on their way to wash at the lotus pond!

#2 These children were all set to have fun, love the superhero poses!

#3  I love animals and saw many in sub-Saharan Africa, India and Haiti, but this guy was the most friendly, it was hard to leave him.

 

COMFORT ZONE

 

“Remember: YOUR LIFE BEGINS WHERE YOUR COMFORT ZONE ENDS”

 

 

This quote “liked” by my muse is my inspiration for today!  I totally agree with this, when we are pushing is when we experience the most growth, the most knowledge and the most of life.  If we never explored our outer limits we would all be stuck back in the womb! 

 

I really laugh when I think back to my late 20’s, whenever I heard of people traveling to Africa and India, all I could think about was how afraid I would be of the unknown kinds of creepy crawly’s if I ran into them!  Even funnier when on my very first night in Africa with Melanie Jones we sat in a living room, pondering Zambia.  We were locked inside a house with iron gates, guards outside, and even more gates, but no one was there to protect us when the biggest baddass spider crawled up behind Melanie on the couch!  We both jumped, screamed, and ultimately had to deal with it ourselves.

 

In reality our comfort zone was being truly desensitized over the following days when we rolled into Mapallo, Mackenzie and George.  3 small “illegal” settlements where life was no-where near anything we knew or had seen before, as we covered an unfolding story of the World Water Crisis.  We wondered a lot over the next few weeks, but became accustomed quickly to that life, and shared it with the people we met there, grew to love them in fact, and cried when we left.  Returning back to Canada 2 months later, I wanted North American life to cease and desist, I wanted only to return to the uncomfortable life that had become my comfort zone. 

 

 

It is not for everyone, the love of venturing to places like that, but whenever I return to Africa, the first thing that greets me is the warm air, laced with the sweet smell of smoke, and I take comfort from that strangely enough, because I know I am in a place where life and death is played out in the blink of an eye, that reality makes you love life

 

Walking through a doorway to the

unknown can be difficult, but life is an experience!

 

One of the first African Homes I went into was a cross cultural experience, seeing how people live, I didn’t know how much it would effect me.

Unity in Life

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I love this quote and wanted to post it because it really makes so much sense in terms of how I feel about working as a humanitarian photographer…

 

He who experiences the unity of life sees his own self in all beings, and all beings in his own self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye…Buddha

 

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THE PERFECT PLACE

I need to believe that I am in the perfect place right now, for where ever it is I am meant to be going.  Sometimes that can be a hard pill to take, but I take respite in this meditation whenever I feel the frustration of where I am at, especially if things are not moving fast enough for me – which is…always!

I have been working away at organizing Cameras 4 Change in a succinct, patient and organized way, so that when it does finally come together it will be solid.  It is taking some time, but I am learning so much along the way, and things are unfolding perfectly.

As I have kept this thought in my mind so much of late, I have also wondered how it relates to those that are struggling, both in my world and the many people that I have met in Kenya, Haiti etc.  Their lives are so vastly different, some unimaginably so, and it makes me wonder how that could be the perfect place.  This is a philosophical question and I am not exactly an expert, but still, here it is.  I guess my place in all of this becomes simple, to accept where I am, and know that I can make a difference in all of it.  It may only be a small difference, like that of one ant.  It seems to me it is the consistency of the heart that matters, and the continuation of belief that will resonate with life and others to fuel the change that needs to happen.  There, I think that is a good answer!

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1.  The Perfect Place to talk on your cell phone!  Rural Coastal Kenya

2. I never had difficulty finding the perfect place in India, here morning prayers at DHAN Foundation, or…

3. Meeting Women doing laundry at The Lotus Pond!