I am not a particularly good photographer, in itself. Studios tend to induce a deep sense of foreboding, I’ve never used a medium format camera, and I am mostly at sea with Photoshop. I do, however, possess, quite independent of my own design, an equal current of both desire and stupidity to be in places that most wouldn’t even contemplate. I put myself in situations where I sit there stunned at the beauty of what’s around me; where it is actively difficult to take a bad shot. At best, I am good at recognizing this beauty, but really, I am just a medium for it. Nature takes the credit. I press a button. Maybe two.
My primary pulse in this existence, it seems to me, is travel. Geographical, sure, but mainly of the mind. For my years, I have been lucky enough to see more of the world than most of my contemporaries. Its ability to inspire me, to stun me, to sadden me, to educate me, to show me love in all its heartbreaking forms, to conjure any number of emotions up within me, is what makes me tick. I feel it always will. I cannot imagine a life without the foreign, an unknown that incites change, ripples me with scars and colorful imprints. Curiosity has always won over a need for the familiar, the secure. Indeed, security has always seemed to me to be the wrong reason for anything. In my mind, you want the blows to land.
When I was nineteen I bought my first backpack and lobbed into Phnom Penh with my brother green as an apple. I remember spending the first fourteen hours in the confines of the hotel we had paid an extortionate price for, not knowing any better and scared of the outside world. Eventually logic won out over inertia, and we ventured out, money belts on, sneakers tied. My eyes then widened, and I haven’t been able to shut them since. The camera I had on me back then was a two megapixel phone camera; really rudimentary. The thought of catching moments with an accessory to my mind, save my pen, rather than simply my mind itself, had not occurred to me.
As I meandered through South East Asia on that first trip I began to feel the urge to record these experiences, these moments, that I felt, heard, smelt, saw, with something that was at least somewhat more objective than my pen. It wasn't much, but that almost worthless camera, and that brief inaugural jaunt, ended up being what got me started. Eventually, as the years rolled by and the beauty of my surroundings took me further and further into her grasp, and as camera after camera broke down (or got lost or stolen) and I upgraded each time, photography consumed me. It wasn't just about taking a photo at a particular instant in time, it was about taking a tangible record of that instant in time and immortalizing it on film. It was about the photo being able to remind me about what I was thinking at that exact moment. What I was feeling. I wanted to get that moment down as accurately as possible.
And that is the ideal I am constantly trying to achieve. To chronicle exactly what I feel and see Through These Eyes.