The essence of word "nuance" has been becoming a big part of my vision as a photographer. One thing that inspires me the most about being the viewer is looking at an image and feeling like you were there, or that you wish you could be there, and that thought spills into my photographic vision. I love to convey the energy and personality that was there in the pureness of that moment, from the laughter and innocence of a Napali village girl to the chaotic mess of and urban street setting in India. Another thing that constantly inspires me is traveling to new places and exploring new cities. I love seeing new landscapes, meeting new people, and eating exotic foods. The stimulus of absorbing a new culture for the first time is like playground of images to be captured. The combination of these two things creates a great recipe to produce the dynamic of my work.
I had the wonderful opportunity to go on an assignment for an NGO, in six countries in Asia. Those countries consisted of Mongolia, Thailand, Burma, India, Nepal, Hong Kong, and Japan. The project was to create a photographic library of people and places reminiscent of each country. An established fine art travel portrait photographer, Phil Borges once gave me the advice to work with non-profit agencies as a vehicle to be able to travel and shoot your own work. It works hand in hand, and as I was able to do on this trip. First off, it was a chance for me to be able to give back, and second of all it was a way for someone to pay my travel. The wonderful thing with this client is that the type of imagery we were creating lines up with my creative vision personally, and is the same type of things I would shoot normally. People and places. I've also had the opportunity to do this same project in South America and Africa.
What did I bring back with me? Many things, but mostly I would say the acknowledgment of other cultures. Something that we don't do much here in the states. One of my favorite nuances was the greeting of "Namaste" When meeting someone or saying hello to someone on the street you put your hands together in the prayer position and up to your nose and mouth and say "Namaste" while making eye contact with the other person. The actual word "Namaste" means "The light in me, recognizes the light in you" On a non-spiritual level, it's a wonderful acknowledgment of the other person. A natural given respect. Something we don't see too often in our busy American lives.
Asia is now one of my favorite continents in the fact that each country was so uniquely different in so many ways. Each culture had it's own quirks and randomness to it. When asked what my favorite country was, it's very hard to come up with an answer for that question. Every country had it's own intrigue that made it just as amazing as the previous. The food in most of the countries was some of the best food of anywhere else I've been, and that enhances the experience. The Asian cultures represent some of the kindest people I've met.