Thoughts and insights about humanitarian photography, filmmaking, and non-profit communications, with the occasional collection of travel images and musings about places I visit.

6 Realities of Humanitarian Photography and Storytelling

6 Realities of Humanitarian Photography and Storytelling

I began this journey into the world of humanitarian photography, storytelling and communications almost 6 years ago. As I was reflecting on the process that got me to this point, I realized there are somethings that I wish I had known before I started. Things that would have helped me grow and improve faster, changed how I approached the work, and help me manage expectations about the career.

A Little Bit of Nature from Doi Pui – Chiang Mai, Thailand

A Little Bit of Nature from Doi Pui – Chiang Mai, Thailand

I don’t do a lot of nature photography, mostly because it is not my line of work. However, I do enjoy it as a way to practice creativity and to appreciate the beauty of nature. So I thought I’d share a few images from a hike I did with the kids last year that I found sitting on my hard drive.

Ethical Representation in Humanitarian Photography

Ethical Representation in Humanitarian Photography

We should not be “documenting” people, instead we need to be representing them with the images we make. If we are representing someone we are speaking on their behalf with their best interests in mind. Ethical representation means increasing their standing in the world and improving how people view them with the images we make. The subjects of our photos deserve more than a photo that says this is a person that was assisted by this NGO. They deserve the opportunity to look the world in the eye and we as a global community need to be confronted with their beauty and their humanity. We need the opportunity to look into their eyes and answer their unspoken demand for respect, that we hold them up as equals, worthy of our admiration.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Ferdinand Some people just have a presence about them, a way with people. I met Ferdinand last month on a project in Bangladesh. He was brought in to be the translator for the video project we were working on and help us conduct interviews and translate the...

New Life School, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

New Life School, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Earlier this year we created a new website for New Life School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As part of the project I spent a couple days at their school taking photographs of the school, students and teachers. New Life School provides an excellent education to over 300...

Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Festival 2019

Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Festival 2019

A mother and daughter make wishes as they prepare to launch their Krathong during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand on November 11, 2019 Every year Thailand celebrates Loi Krathong, a festival where small floating baskets, called Krathongs, are floated...

Why I Have a No Hug Rule and You Should Too!

Why I Have a No Hug Rule and You Should Too!

I have a no hug rule, for all my assignment photography, filmmaking and consulting work. It’s not something that I would have thought I needed, a few years ago, but as I work with more and more organizations supporting vulnerable children I have realized that it is...

The Privilege of Photography

The Privilege of Photography

I want to take a minute to talk about the privilege of photography and what it means for how I work. I just returned from two and a half weeks on the road working on three different projects, two in Cambodia and one in the Philippines. I went to Cambodia to meet with...

What We Say Matters – Presidential Edition

What We Say Matters – Presidential Edition

President Trump recently referred to asylum seekers as animals. Can we talk about that statement for a minute? Can I provide some context to what that statement means? I think we often forget that: We pack so many chickens (animals) in a cage that they can barely...

Orussey Market – Short Film

Orussey Market – Short Film

I had a few spare hours in between assignments, while I was in Phnom Penh last week and was able to film this. Orussey Market is one of my favorite places in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is a market that serves the local population of Phnom Penh. If you show up early it...

How to be an Ethical Humanitarian Photographer

How to be an Ethical Humanitarian Photographer

According to Websters the definition of a humanitarian is this: A person promoting human welfare and social reform. So a reasonable extension of that definition to the title of humanitarian photographer might look something like this. A humanitarian photographer is...

Extended moments from Xining, China

Extended moments from Xining, China

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a week on assignment in Xining, China. During my downtime I was able to spend sometime wandering the city and a national park. I really enjoy exploring a place and discovering the beauty that presents itself when you...

How to Make Your Fascination Contagious –  for Photographers

How to Make Your Fascination Contagious – for Photographers

Build Character In an earlier series of articles I talked about the idea that our fascination with the people and situations we photograph is what makes the ideas we are sharing contageous. While it seems like our enthusiasm for our work should be enough to make...

The Search for Meaning

The Search for Meaning

If you want more meaningful photographs, you first have to know what is meaningful to you. You cannot achieve meaningful work by chasing someone else's interests. I last year I had the opportunity to work on an assignment in Nepal. I spent 3 days filming a video...

The Bassist

The Bassist

A few weeks ago I traveled to Hong Kong to film a project for some friends. While I was there I spent a bit of time filming Nick Banks practicing the base. It really didn't fit in the other project we were working on so I created a short film with the footage titled,...

Feeding Fascination

Feeding Fascination

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...

Elements of Faith – Wat Phra That Doi Kham –

Elements of Faith – Wat Phra That Doi Kham –

I spent a couple hours yesterday exploring a local Wat and trying to transfer my prefered style of photography to video. I wanted to accentuate the human element, to wonder in the beauty of gesture, and nuance of movement. This is the result of that experiment

The Privilege of Escape

The Privilege of Escape

How do we deal with situations that we can escape and get away from but there are people who cannot leave and are trapped? (This article was written in Nov, 2017) I have been mentally struggling lately with situations going on in the world that I cannot change and...