Even with more knowledge at our fingertips than ever before, stereotypes abound in our world, whether it's about a place or a people group or a victim of painful circumstances. We have all seen our fair share of photos from war-torn spaces or impoverished children with pitiful looks on their face. While there is a place to raise
awareness of suffering, it’s also extremely important to remember that every person and every community has a story.
So my goal in my storytelling, whether photography or video, is to capture that broader view so that we can focus on our commonalities. I want to introduce you to local leaders who are making changes and who have something to teach us. I want to give you a little back story to the photo of that person about whom you might be making assumptions. I want to tell the full story so that we can learn from each other and find ways to move forward.
I believe strongly that the starting point must be the understanding that I do not have the right to assume automatic access to their lives and stories. The permission is theirs to give.
It's respectful, and in the end more effective, when I ask them join me in the process of telling their stories. When this done, the power and dignity goes back into their hands- where it always belonged.
It's so hard not come into social justice situations with preconceived notions. But if we do this we will miss the true story. I believe that it's crucial for me to walk into these situations using my ears, my eyes, and my camera to learn. As I learn, than the viewers of my images can also learn.
“I want people to see the culture and people and the good things. But I want them to also see the bad. We can’t ignore it. Pretending that it’s not happening just makes it worse. So I want people to see both sides.”
-quote from an Ethiopian man when asked what people needed to know
I'd love nothing more than getting the chance to connect face-to-face. So if we are able, let's get together for coffee & a chat about social justice. if we are too far apart, let's let the interwebs connect us.
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