Release of new book “Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit”
These portraits are an unguarded moment in the lives of a few of the people I’ve photographed from our remarkable human tapestry. Some are celebrating significant events, while others are simply living out ordinary days. Others are merely struggling to survive. Many are from countries whose lives are in flux or change due to war, natural disaster or the inevitable rapid progression of modernity. Most are surprised that I actually wanted to stop and photograph someone who is considered in their culture such an ordinary looking person. As an admitted romantic pastoralist I feel drawn to those who live close to the land, documenting communities that may not last even another generation. I consider Asia my second home and I feel especially captivated by the nomads of Tibet, an area I have visited numerous times over the last two decades.
Most of these environmental portraits were made in natural local surroundings with available light. With some of these people I have spent more time than with others. Many I have never met before and will probably never see again. Whether it was a long or brief encounter in the street or their residence, there was always a sense that together we were giving a face to a place. In spite-or sometimes because of-ubiquitous language barriers, this shared intent became the crux of our connection. Gaining this trust has influenced me to make a picture rather than take a picture. In this triangular viewpoint, I saw them and now they look back at you the viewer.
One of the many things I have learned during my years of global travel is that no matter how unique we may look in appearance, from the exotic to the mundane, we basically have the same universal desires and concerns. Our needs are actually quite simple: to love and be loved; to have a useful place in our society with some meaningful and fulfilling occupation in our life; work that will hopefully provide us with enough money in our pocket to get by; food on the table; education, health and safety for ourselves, our family and our children. The freedom to be ourselves is what connects us as a human race.
This book is a celebration of the spirit within us all. It is what bonds us as mankind, a continued thread, as together we continue on this journey in the pilgrimage of life.