projects

2017 Year in Review

Happy New Year! The past year feels like it's been a bit of a whirlwind and all gone by so quickly. Here are a few highlights from my year.

I began the year by heading down to Nicaragua for three weeks to put together the photo/video material we would need to launch our newly founded nonprofit Women's Worth. This organization is based in Matagalpa, Nicaragua and teaches business skills to low-income women. We were planning on running a fundraiser in the spring and so we needed photography for the website, video footage for our fundraising video, plus portraits and food photography for a cookbook we were creating as a giveaway. You can see more images as well as our fundraiser video here.

Meeting all of the women we worked with, learning about their lives and and their businesses was a really inspiring experience and I'm looking forward to continuing to work more on this organization in the years to come.

After spending only a few days back in the States from the Nicaragua trip, I was off on another three week trip, this time to India. The trip was more of a personal one than for work, though I did manage to fit in a video project on a tribal woman who creates traditional floor paintings (more on that to come). For the rest of the time though, I relied on my iPhone for a lot of my photography, something I've come to really enjoy doing in recent years.

When I returned from India in the spring, I was really pleased to finally have a photo story from Nicaragua that I had been working on published in the Christian Science Monitor. The story was on Jairo Blanchard, a former gang member who had turned his life around and started an organization which works with at-risk youth. You can read the full story here and see the full set of pictures here.

Later on in the spring, I had the opportunity to work with Boston University's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department to produce a video on their program. It was really fascinating to see the different types of technology students are working with these days.

Throughout a lot of the rest of the year, I did a number of editorial shoots and picked up a few new clients along the way. I really enjoy editorial work as it's a great opportunity to be creative while trying to have a person's personality come through in the image. Subjects ranged from a computational biologist, to the Fenway organist to everything in between.

photo-1-23.jpg
photo-1-20.jpg
photo-1-19.jpg

One of these editorial shoots lead to a new client, and I ended up doing a number of portraits of the Broad Institute's executive leadership along with some images of one of their new core members and his lab.

And as always, every year I enjoys spending my summers working with Boston After School & Beyond to document their summer learning programs.

I'll be starting off 2018 with a trip to Oregon for some winter hiking/camping excursions. After that, who knows where I'll end up... You can follow my travels on my Instagram where I hope to have lots of new images to share with you soon. Have a great new year!

photo-1.jpg

2016 Year in Review

Happy New Year! I really enjoyed 2016 and have a bunch of new developments in my photo and video work to share.

I started the year off heading down to New York City to tag along and film some footage of one of Harvard Business School's Immersive Field Courses. Every year, HBS student take off for various locations around the world to take part in this experience and my footage from New York was incorporated into the final overview video.

In February, I headed off on another trip to Central America. I returned to Nicaragua to continue working on my photo story on a former gang member who now works with kids.

While in Nicaragua, I also continued my tradition of posting to Instagram once a day and built up a great collection of images. I was really pleased when a selection of iPhone shots from my travels was recently published on the website Passion Passport. You can read the full story here: http://passionpassport.com/central-america-by-iphone/

After Nicaragua, I continued on to El Salvador, where I worked with Ian MacLellan to film a video for the non-profit Epilogos. Epilogos has a wonderful story. It was started by a couple, Mike and Susie Jenkins who returned to El Salvador after being stationed there in the Peace Corps and lived and worked in the community of San Jose Villanueva for 14 years.

Working in El Salvador was a wonderful experience and it was great to get a chance to experience a different country in Central America. The people were very friendly and welcoming but it was heartbreaking to see the level of violence they are forced to deal with in their daily lives.

When I returned to Boston in the spring, I had a lot of fun shooting a whirlwind of events for MIT as they celebrated 100 years in Cambridge.

And throughout the year, I've continued to shoot portraits of students and faculty for MIT News, assignments which I always enjoy.

During the summer, I put some serious effort into adding to my travel portfolio and had a lot of fun shooting in Maine, New Hampshire and on Cape Cod.

And for the third year now, I got to spend a good portion of the summer hanging out with kids while shooting summer school photos for the non-profit Boston After School & Beyond.

Towards the end of the summer, I really enjoyed taking a trip up to Contoocook, New Hampshire to produce a video on a liturgical candlemaker who had gotten into beekeeping.

In the fall, during the run-up to the election I shot videos on a range of political topics for both the Edward M. Kennedy Institute and Moveon.org.

I'm starting off 2017 by heading first to Nicaragua to do some photo/video work for a new non-profit I've become involved with called Women's Worth. And then I'll be spending the month of February traveling in India. You can follow my travels on my Instagram where I hope to have lots of new images to share with you soon. Have a great new year!

Human Nature

I'm please to finally be able to make Human Nature, my short documentary on Plum Island, available online. I initially started the project in the spring of 2013 and it was screened at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival a year ago in the fall. The film explores the issue of erosion on Plum Island and how the various people involved are trying to deal with the situation.

2015 Year in Review

Happy New Year! 2015 was a really great year. Here are a few highlights for me.

I grew up traveling all over the world, and it's been a goal of mine for a while to incorporate overseas assignments into my work as well. So, this year I was really thrilled to be able to spend two weeks in Nicaragua working on photo projects there.

I'm returning to Nicaragua this February to continue a project on a former gangster who is working with kids in his hometown to try and intervene in the cycle of gang violence.

During my travels in Nicaragua, I found out that I actually really like Instagram (my dad insisted that I post something online everyday so that he would know I was still alive). Taking pictures with my phone has been a great way for me to explore a completely different way of shooting.

As usual, this year Harvard Business School kept me busy with a whole slew of video projects, from creating video introductions for their Entrepreneurs in Residence to promoting some programs like their joint degree with the Harvard Kennedy School.

And in the spring I finished the very last piece of a video and portrait project I had been working on for Boston University School of Law. I really enjoyed the project because I was able to use both my photo and video skills and really exercise my creativity in putting it together.

During the summer, I had a lot of fun hanging out with kids in various summer school programs around the Boston area while producing some photo and video work for Boston After School & Beyond.

Also over the summer, I finally managed to finish editing my short documentary on the erosion issues on Plum Island. The film, Human Nature premiered at the Newburyport Documentary film festival in September.

In the fall I began shooting for MIT, which I've been enjoying a lot so far. I love the challenges and creative possibilities of environmental portraiture.

For 2016, I'm hoping for more of the same! I really enjoy the clients I've gotten to work with and the wide variety of assignments I've had. I'd love to do some more traveling and am hoping to find the time to work on one or two other personal projects as well.

'Human Nature' Screening

I'm excited that my short documentary film on Plum Island 'Human Nature' is finally complete and will be screening at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival this weekend.
The film is 15 minutes long and is screening Sunday, September 20th at 11:30 AM in The Screening Room, 82 State St, Newburyport, MA 01950. It will be screened along with another short film. You can get tickets here.

Creating this film was a long difficult process for me as the story and issue are pretty complex and I was trying my best to accurately represent all sides. I feel good about the results though, and I'm looking forward to sharing the final product with the Newburyport community!

Synopsis: Plum Island is a barrier beach on the north shore of Massachusetts that people have inhabited, in one form or another, since the early 1800s. In the past few decades, people have built more conventional homes where dune shacks once stood. In 2013, a series of winter storms caused enough erosion damage to destroy six of these homes. Many outsiders see the people on the island as wealthy homeowners who built too close to the water and got what they deserved, but the truth is much more complicated.

Newburyport Documentary Film Festival

I was really fortunate to be able to screen a short clip from my Plum Island documentary (which is still a work in progress) at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival this past weekend. The screening was part of a special section of the festival for works in progress and was screened alongside a film on Henry Beston. It was great to be able to show something to an audience and receive feedback and after a year and a half of working on this project it's definitely given me an extra boost of motivation to see the project through to the end.

German Privacy Laws

While visiting Berlin over New Years I was excited to embark on a project that I had had in mind for some time. The idea was to photograph people on the subway with my iPhone as I travelled across the city to show the change in demographics as one goes from west to east. Having grown up partially in Germany, I don't really think of it as a foreign country and didn't expect privacy laws to differ greatly from those in the U.S. However, I was surprised to encounter hostility and suspicion not only while taking photos on the subway but also when doing general street photography. I realized I needed to inform myself better about the local laws and also about the general mentality of the people regarding photography.

An internet search revealed that German privacy laws are much stricter than those in the U.S. Simply put, you are not allowed to publish a photo of anyone without their permission. Okay, but what about general street photography and photos taken with my phone not obviously intended for publication? In the U.S., when shooting for a newspaper, I've often had people ask me not to use photos I've taken of them, which I'm happy to accommodate, but why were people in Germany so concerned not only that I not use the images for anything but that I show them that I had deleted them from my memory card? After speaking with a few friends in the city I began to get a better idea of what was going on. 

Berlin is a city, which not all that long ago was located right in the middle of communist East Germany. If you lived in the east, you pretty much assumed you were under surveillance; your phone could easily be tapped. Many people in Germany today remember this all to well and are still very suspicious of being photographed. Another photographer I emailed also had this to add: "People in Germany seem especially sensitive right now about having their photos taken -- especially by an American -- since all of the NSA surveillance stuff and recent controversies about Google's unauthorized photos of peoples homes for Google Earth. I think they see it as even more than a civil rights issue; it smacks of colonialism, and as you have probably already noticed, American culture and language have already made big inroads here. Many people greatly resent this American invasion of their cultural space."

The problem I then faced was how to continue with my project while still being respectful. In the end decided that I would continue to take photos of people in the subway without their knowledge but that I would then let them know I had done so and ask whether that was ok with them. If not I would offer to delete the photo immediately. This way I could still get the candid images I was after while being respectful of people who didn't want to be photographed. This slowed me down somewhat but worked surprisingly well. Most people didn't mind having their picture used for my project and the few who did seemed happy enough when I offered to delete the images.

Looking at new work

One of the best pieces of advice I received from a professor at BU was to always remember to keep looking at new work, to constantly be looking at work other people are creating as a means to inspire yourself. As I continue my career as a photographer this is a piece of advice I keep coming back to over and over and find that it always helps if I feel like I'm in a slump. There's nothing like looking at an amazing photograph or other work of art to inspire you to get out there and make your own. This past spring I took a trip to DC with my roommate and we spent the entire time wandering through art museums. It was incredibly refreshing and reminded me once again how important it is to take time for these things.

Subway Project

I started working on an iPhone subway project over the past couple months. I love people watching when I'm on the train and the iPhone makes it so much easier to capture moments unobtrusively.