The Navajo have a term, hozho, that refers to beauty, goodness, and harmony of body and spirit. It's a state that is shared by all people in some form. Through photography, I explore this by looking for the essence of the character of people and how they inhabit their physical and emotional places in the world. I am intrigued by the everyday and by what we all have in common. Studies in anthropology and sociology have fueled this interest and deepened my commitment to create images that show the universal dignity, value, hozho of everyone . I'm intolerant of any expression of an "us" and a "them" in a way that emphasizes differences; this is too often the precursor to arrogance, intolerance, and dominance. If viewers look at my photographs and recognize their own hope, hurt, and humanity in the faces of others who initially appear foreign, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do.
My training is in both computers and art, which dovetail well in the left-brained, right-brained art of photography. In 2006 I traveled to New York for studio workshops with National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, who helped me see light and color in new and different ways. The quality and sheer amount of information I absorbed was both indescribable and transformational. In 2008 I traveled to Uganda, where I worked with TASO, The non-governmental AIDS Support Organization (www.tasouganda.org) My work was to meet and photograph people in all stages of progressive HIV and AIDS. From people experiencing the initial in-home diagnosis, to those living positively with AIDS, to those suffering in the end-stage of this disease, I was a witness to their fear, hope, despair, and the constant stigma AIDS holds. This work is part of an international campaign to show the beauty, dignity, and humanity of those who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS, to raise awareness and build support for humanitarian relief efforts. This experience changed forever how I approach photography. It is, for me, no longer an art or a skill; it is a tool for change to alleviate suffering.
Relevant Experience and Information
- President - CoPA, The Coalition of Photographic Arts www.copamilwaukee.com
- Vice President - The Underwood Foundation www.theunderwoodfoundation.org
- Represented by VP Gallery www.vpgallery.com
- Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414.617.8765