Category Archives: Travel
Five and a half years ago, with the generous support of friends, family, and even a few strangers, I was able to travel halfway around the globe to Uganda, Africa. After the trip, stunted by a PC that processed images at a speed fit for floppy disks, it took me months to get around to dealing with the images. Since then, they’ve been sitting in the archives of a bygone Flickr account and collecting dust on an old hard drive, so I thought I’d re-unveil some of my faves . . .
My role on this particular trip was to put together a photography class that could be taught as a one-off, or spread out over a few days in the local villages. I encountered so many humanitarian individuals pre-trip, willing to donate cameras, film, batteries, photo paper, printers, ink, money, and lesson plans. The giving and support, some from complete strangers, was a good reminder that an overwhelming amount of good can come from people with a common aspiration.
Now with that said, the fact that I was in charge of this whole photography shindig at that time is a bit laughable to me, because my knowledge of said field in 2007 was a bit . . . lacking. However, when the task at hand involves teaching kids how to compose and take a picture with an automatic camera, the pieces tend to fit together easily. Add that with the fact that some of these classes included of hundreds of kids, most of whom had never seen a camera and some, I might add, a white person. The novelty of both won out over the finer details of picture-taking. Also, there is something inexplicably magical about giving a person a printed image that they have taken or giving someone the first picture they have ever seen of themselves.
Mostly this trip afforded me the chance to be with a people who provided so much beauty to a place that holds a history of so much pain and devastation. In 2007, the aftermath of a 20+ year civil war was barely into its “after” stages. Part of our group worked alongside local Ugandan counselors who were aiding in the healing process for children who had experienced the atrocities of this war. The stories I heard were so horrific that if I focused simply on what HAD happened, it would be easy to get lost in the awfulness of it all. Fortunately, as I hope these images portray, I was able to witness tenderness and a reawakening to real childhood and future as Uganda works to rebuild itself.
Oh, these crazy kids (all six of them) . . . from the four years I lived with the Hearns in San Diego to all the times leading up to the east coast images below, I can honestly say some of the better parts of me are a direct result of my relationship with this family. Through the thick and thin of job changes, relationship ups and downs, road trips, adoptions, major surgery, following big dreams, following different big dreams, growing up, early mornings and late nights, lemon bars, moving boxes, tears, dancing, belly laughter, holidays, retreats, and the sharing of everyday life, I can say this for sure: everyday life here is anything but everyday.
When I found out they were moving near Boston, (note: that is not near San Diego for the geographically challenged) I felt something akin to what my brother expressed when my 11 year old self maliciously revealed to him that Santa Claus wasn’t real: “You broke my HEART”. [cue tears]
However, when good fortune smiled upon me with a Massachusetts wedding this year, I was able to spend some time refreshing my soul, catching up in the crisp, east coast air . . . and let’s not forget two batches of lemon bars. From the impromptu backyard photo shoot, you can see why I love them so, and why it is so hard to be 3,035 miles away . . .
And behind the scenes where I apparently take down my subjects. Shot by Owen (5th grade):
Here are a couple from a whole set of lovely photos taken by future star photographer Ella (7th grade):
And here’s a video what happens when you tell four kids you’re taking video instead of still photos . . . anarchy!
Click here to see video.
A few shots from a trip up to Portland and Seattle; aka the place I like to gain weight and catch up on my rain intake.
These were a few side shots I took while doing a corporate shoot at UCSD last week (see: January and kids in swim shorts). One day, if I ever have to leave San Diego, I will probably weep.
When embarking on a 15 mile backpacking trip at 11,000 feet, I have a couple suggestions. a) Don’t bring your professional grade (aka: heavy) camera gear unless . . . just don’t bring it. b) If you find yourself saying, “But Ansel Adams carried his heavy large format film cameras up here, so stop being such a sissy lala,” remember that Ansel Adams probably had pack mules. Okay, maybe he didn’t, but it makes me feel better when c) I am highly likely, under extreme exhaustion and minor altitude sickness, to drop said expensive camera after poorly MacGyver-ing it to a tree to capture one last epic moment of the trip (see: non-epic photos 7 & 8).
d) It is imperative that you equip yourself with an experienced hiker manhunk (or fembot) to feed you gourmet food and pick up the pieces when you start to emotionally unravel (hypothetically) right in the middle of the most beautiful place on the planet. A scratched lens is a silly excuse to suddenly forget about the postcard-like view from camp and the schoolgirl-joy of jumping into the frigid mountain water and the fun of being with manhunk and a night with more stars than I’ve ever seen in one sky and the Irish food at the bottom of the mountain. And the not getting eaten by bears.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once described New York City: “Over the great bridge, with sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”
This is exactly what I experienced when standing in the middle of a silent, snow drenched Central Park. With its backdrop of concrete and metal, you can never go too far without being reminded that you are always right in the center of a metropolis. This is a scan of one my favorite darkroom prints from one of those moments in the park.