I am committed to sharing stories.
I first found joy with my camera at 12, with my dad who agreed to join me taking a photo class. At 13 my aunt passed away and her old Pentax K-1000, with a slight light leak, was handed down to me. It carried me through college. The darkroom became my place of peace, my addiction and inspiration, my refuge. At 19 I moved to India, and it was here that I discovered my camera could be used as a tool, to record history and to affect change. I fell in love with the world this year and with bridging differences in ideologies and backgrounds through slide film and shared meals. It was then that I found images to be more than aesthetic, they became powerful.
I have been all over the world documenting stories. Trying to draw attention to issues, to show what is positive when all feels hopeless, educate, lessen stigmas and raise funds. My work in journalism focusing on more serious issues has been sprinkled with moments of pure joy, documenting friends and family, new business and their special moments.
In 2011 I began a personal project documenting a village that was affected by Japan’s three-tier disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown). This project has led to me to take a step back and examine my profession and the effects of photographs on populations who have faced mass trauma. I realized, if photographs are powerful, they must be understood. This has led to my Ph.D., which examines stigmas that media photographs can produce, but furthermore the positive potentials photographs and photographing can have in the trauma-healing process.
I am committed to still images, to sharing stories, to light and moments. A still photograph freezes a moment in history, be it material for a magazine cover or newspaper page, or for a wall frame, family photo album or shoe box of memories kept under the bed. A still photograph is important and can transport us back to the moments that shape us, that offer learning, that offer joy, that help us grow. Still photographs are important for generations to come.
My work has been recognized by the International Communication Association, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, National Press Photographs Association, Associated Press, and the Eddie Adams Workshop. More importantly is has been recognized by the subjects of my photos, individuals and families. I am an honorary Paul Harris Fellow for raising funds to eradicate polio through photography, Rotary World Peace Fellow and Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology Scholar.
I grew up on the back of a horse and continue to find my personal peace in the same place.