Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Many photographers are not comfortable approaching strangers and asking to take their picture. By and large, these are the photographers that end up specializing in still life, architecture & landscape photography.

I love portraiture photography.  I simply love the connection to humanity.  Getting a subject to relax and for a moment reveal a bit of their inner self makes me tick.

So no surprise, I had the girls take this on during one of our sessions.  They were certain that they just couldn't do it.  They were shy and giggly at first so we practiced on a few people that they are familiar with at the school.  Of course, caution with strangers is still important especially for young girls which we also covered.  Then off to Decatur Square we went for a little live practice.  

The 1st person was a homeless man who was quite gracious and accommodating.  This was followed by a man doing some landscaping work.  The final and best 2 were these really cool dudes with tattoos who worked at a local restaurant and were outside for a smoke.  This was their crowing glory.  These guys ended up telling the girls what good photographers they were and how proud they were of their life journey.  The girls had such a good time.
No Longer Strangers

Carpe Diem,

Monday, February 3, 2014

Learning to See

For this first Session I was assigned 2 girls; EnKawli a refugee from Myanmar, who fled with her family in Thailand and Georfie from the Congo last in a refugee camp in Burundi. EnKawli was 11 years of age when she started at the Global Village Project, the youngest girl in the program.  Today, both girls are 12 years old.  They are a great age; still a bit shy, keenly interested in learning and tech savvy.  I really love the time that I spend with them.

I purchased a few refurbished Canon PowerShot 3330 camera from Canon at a great price. A perfect starter camera for a program where my emphasis is composition and situational shooting.    After grinding through the mechanics of the camera we went outside of the school to shoot.  The girls love going outside mid day regardless of how cold it might be.

Its a warm day and we are free as birds checking out all the scenery

After shooting we come back into the classroom where we review all of their images and pick their 2 favorites.  Subsequently, their homework is to write a composition about their picks and shoot some more while at home.  

During the next class, grammar , punctuation & spelling is corrected.  As defined by Daphne Hall, the teacher, we are using the photography to also reinforce their literacy skills.   

I am just blown away that these 2 girls have only been in the USA for 8 months and are speaking and writing in English!

Carpe Diem,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Girls -  full of life, full of love

It was during the fall of 2013 that I learned about a school in Decatur, GA, just one town over from where I live that provides education to refugee girls age 11-18 .   It's called the Global Village Project (GVP).  The girls who attend GVP previously lived in refugee camps in some of the most desperate, war torn areas on this earth.

Through the help of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) the girls and their families make their way to the US and begin a new life

On day one the girls cannot speak a lick of English.  Upon graduation they go on to receive a GED degree, submission to college or join the work force. These girls are taught to be empowered, educated young ladies who grow in leaps and bounds right before your eyes into empowered young women. 

It was during the Decatur book festival that one of the GVP teachers purchased a copy of my book, The Women of Southeast Asia. Our connection and desire to help girls grow into empowered woman was instantly obvious to both of us. Almost immediately a new friendship and partnership was born.  

Shortly thereafter I was invited to give a slide show of my photographs depicting women from my travels.  The teacher, Daphe Hall told me that the girls would most likely be shy and demure.  Well 1 hr. was hardly enough and they were anything but shy.  They were full of love and laughter, raising their hands 5 at a time, edging each other out to ask questions, and share experiences and knowledge from "their country........"  Their energy was huge.  I instantly fell in love and knew I wanted to spend time with and help these girls.  

And so a photography program at GVP was born.  Our first session began in January 2014.

Carpe Diem, 

Monday, July 8, 2013

“Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”, Mekong River, Laos


I had left Luang Prabang, early one morning and traveled up the Mekong River a few miles with the intention of visiting several local villages and temples.  You could always tell where a village is located by the long set of very steep steps leading up and a lush perfectly groomed garden at the shoreline, beside the steps.   As I disembarked on the opposite shore, the mist was rising from the night before, all was peaceful and the light was beautiful. 

This local woman had come down from her village to start her day.  She was untying her boat from the mooring made of natural material, a few branches of bamboo.  What a simple yet effective way to secure one’s boat.  I can only image that one of her elders taught her how to secure her boat using the bamboo and her children will do the same.  Traditions passed on from generation to generation, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” 

Carpe Diem,

Sunday, June 30, 2013

“Sacred Light”, Luang Prabang, Laos

In this ancient Laotian Buddhist Temple, Wat Wisunalat I was surrounded by history.  While this is a functioning temple, a huge number of spectacular artifacts are on display.  I was drawn to a large collection of Buddha’s Lined up on the left side of the Wat in front of the window.  

At first, it is the repetition of their shape and the vertical line they create that calls me over to them.  In actuality there was more to it.  They have an aura about them.  Their essence is further heightened by the strong light that is behind them.  This light reflects off the gold leaf on their bodies bringing them to life.  I capture the image.  Later I learn that these Buddha’s are “Calling for Rain” Mudra Buddha’s.  There was certainly no rain on that particular day, but rather “Sacred Light” emblazoning these sacred figures.

Carpe Diem,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Private Space

I visited Shwedagon no less than four time, during my stay in Yangoon, Myanmar. This paya is described as heart stopping and indeed it is.  The colors, the way the sun reflects off the gold gilded monuments, the lighted candles, people coming to pray stays with you forever.

This older monk had noticed me photographing at the paya previous mornings.  He stopped and pleasantly made mention.  Later in the week I happened to see him alone meditating off to the side before one of the smaller shrines where there wasn't any foot traffic.  Leaning against this gilded ornate pole I felt as though he had gone off to his own private space.  For me, time had stopped for a moment as I stepped into his world.  I love the feeling of stillness this image communicates.

Carpe Diem,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Street Photography - Universal

Women Gossiping, Taroudant, Morocco

This collection of images were taken in many small towns and niches in different corners of the world.  While the subjects are seemingly different based on outward appearance one is reminded time and again that we are all the same.  Regardless of the locale, I meet every day people, leading every day lives with similar desires.  The settings are honest and so are their emotions.  It is for these reasons I am continually drawn back to the streets looking to capture extraordinary moments in ordinary life.

Boatman, Hoi An Vietnam

Shan Tea Workers, Hsipaw Myanmar

Buddhist Practitioner, Dege Tibet

Fish Seller Napping, Hoi An Vietnam

Men Socializing, Labrang Township, Tibet

Dumpling Seller, Dali China