Photo of A man cleaning up in Warorot Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand by humanitarian Photographer Bryon Lippincott

I want to pursue a fascination with the lives and culture of the people I meet.

How do we show value to people who are different from us. How do we engage with others in a way that is valuing to them and their way of seeing the world. How can we eliminate the instinct to evaluate and judge what is good or bad about a culture or person based on how they live their life.

As a photographer and storyteller, I have found that in order for me to let go of those instincts I have to approach any new situation, any interaction with people from a place of fascination. For me that fascination usually comes from a visual space. I look for specific moments of beauty. The way a person smiles. The way they interact with their children and family. I am continually fascinated by these fleeting beautiful moments that occur billions of times a day across the planet between people. These moments that, very often, if we are in the moment ourselves we fail to see the beauty and simplicity of it in contrast to the rest of our lives.

Recently I have been realizing fascination is a big deal to me. When I am doing well and really feeling good, I am fascinated by a lot of things. I am fascinated by the people around me that I do not know and I find that I really value the culture that is hosting me when I am living from a place of fascination. The more tired and busy I become the more I see the things I don’t like in the culture I am currently a guest of. When I am traveling for work, my schedule and stress level are often determining factors in how much I enjoy the place I am visiting.

I want to be fascinated more and reduce the time that I feel stressed and busy. It is an intentional process that involves choosing my mindset and choosing to look for the visual beauty first. I can almost always find visual, aesthetic beauty in a situation. Finding that beauty seems to make it easier for me to engage the situation I am in from a place of fascination. It is the key that seems to unlock my interest in the people, situation and/or culture that I am in.

As a matter of principle I want to be less interested in myself and more interested in other people. Honestly I only want to be relevant and have a voice so that I can have a place to share about all the fascinating people that I meet. I am fascinated by the “Whys?” of human life and the human existence. I am fascinated by the things that other people are interested in and passionate about, the things that fascinate them, and why they are fascinated by them. Once I dig deeper and listen I realize that I too find it interesting and fascinating, and in tern I find that person fascinating.

As a connection and relationship is built my interest moves from finding their interest fascination to finding the individual themselves fascinating.

As an introvert I often reach out and connect less than I should, I tend to be shy and not reach out and engage as quickly and easily as others might. I have been feeling lately that I need to be more intentional in this area. I need to intentionally feed my fascination, to intentionally engage with and look for ways and reasons to celebrate people, to keep my focus off of myself and on the world around me where I want it to be.

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