Why are you so passionate about telling stories? I get this question a lot, it’s also a complex answer. As a photojournalist I believe stories are ways in which we pass down information from one generation to another. Words and language are the threads of life, and from Homer’s epics to that story about the one that got way that your best friend tells, stories are a way to engage the imagination of a reader or listener. But an image does something more than the written or verbal, it touches in ways that allow us to experience a story in a very personal way. I tell stories to understand myself more. By exploring my inner self through experiences and images, I’ve come to understand the “real” me. But in the end if I had to summarize why I tell stories into a phrase it would be, to tell the truth.
As photographers we must remember to dig for the story before we shoot, or we have the tendency to skew reality and be invasive and offensive. I have a saying: “a story is only skin deep, but heart of the story is hidden deep within.” As storytellers we must go deeper. Our actions and images across cultures can be positive and negative, shoot for the positive. Get close to your subject. Listen first shoot second. To really get the whole story your subject must know that you care about them as an individual and not just a story. In the time you are with your subject, they must consider you a friend. Think about it… people tell things and act differently with a friend, then when they’re with a stranger. I have found 99% of the time, when someone is looking into uncertainty or dealing with the unthinkable there is HOPE and a brighter side. People tend to believe what they see, even if it’s not true. Capture truth, not just what you first see.