My Story comes out tomorrow in the New York Times about the pro life movement here in Michigan. It is the work I am most proud of because it was three days of quick photography, daily deadlines and lots of car travel. I think 7 different locations. The hardest part was my new macbook pro failed. And my backup computer failed. And the model the mac store gave me to replace failed (thanks Snow Leopard). 3667 images for the story. Damien Cave, the writer, was awesome enough to let me transmit from his computer, while he was typing the story.
It will be a lens blog, listed below, a audio slideshow and a photo story in the paper.
The Lens Blog is a blessing to me because it was unexpected. I will write more later. Right now, off to prayer.
On a side note, it has been a most amazing day today. Rainy, which hindered the tempers of the children who were going to fight. I did not photograph any fight today nor did i see any police.
I met the president of a camera case company last year on a plane. He saw my crappy camera bag and told me he would send me a new one from his company. A year later I have nothing but that is cool with me. But I figured I would call the company and find out if the offer was still there. So I did, I explained everything. The company said that the guy was no longer with the company but that they would send out a bag of my choice. I sent them two examples of the bags totally a lot of money that I was going to buy and I received an email back that both bags would be in the mail for me for free.
All I can say is that when God has something for you to do, he equips.
I also thank Daryl Lang and PDN for getting my story about yesterday out to the other photogs out there.
Praise God. I really just have been having a great time working for the NY Times. Over the past week I have been blessed with 3 assignments and yesterday was asked to do 3 out of 4 parts for a portrait series for the Times. On Monday I spent 3.5 minutes with the CEO of Ford photographing him AND interviewing him on camera for USA Today. God has been so awesome. Not just because he has blessed me with these jobs, but because he remains faithful and true to his word. If you don’t know God, a let me tell you who he is..He is the forgiving, the faithful, the truth, the light, the creator, the provider, the hope, the ever present, the never failing and I could on (in my preacher voice). For real though, I have been freelance for just over a year and the jobs keep coming. Not because of the skills I have or the effort I put in, but because the Lord has called me to a place that he wants me to be and the result are jobs coming in. I give him the Glory. I received a call today for a job in Chicago, Detroit, St Paul and Milwaukee for a documentary series for a non-profit group. Now I know the lord will provide for he has called me away from my comfortable job a year ago, a job that was awesome, a job that I miss a lot because of the people. But He called me into this unknown land that is freelance and has provided ever since. Praise God. I really want you all reading this far to know that whether or not you put the name of “God” on God, or if you think that there is a power out there that you tap into or if you think everything was created to work in harmony or whatever, know this; that all of that came together and created a baby boy which a young mother named Jesus. The amazing thing about Jesus, besides the fact that so many people use his name and deny he exists, is that he came as a baby. Now Mary, his mother, had to take care of Jesus (God in a bod as some people would say). God in the flesh as a helpless baby. I believe that is how believers are supposed to act towards everyone in this world. As a servant out to better others, to nurture others, to care for others and feed them. To bring them up through adolescence and then into maturity.
Thank you to all my friends praying for the shoot tonight. I think I nailed it.
Random Christian fact #1, it says in the Bible that God appoints the leaders of this world like Barack Obama.
Did I lose you? No more faith talk? Ok how about this, Someone from Mongolia has seen my blog. Crazy.
To me it is crazy that we can have a map of the whole world and see where people are from who are clicking on my site. It seems so simple now. I posted this blog because I was inspired by the global inquiries which is why i posted the screen grab of my Clustrmap. Back to the post.
A cat I saved from the streets of Detroit is playing with my slipper’s shoelace. The heat is on full force fighting the 27 degree F weather outside. Two days ago I was in New York City and two days from now I don’t know I where I will be. That is the life of a photojournalist. But for here, for now I am at home. In comfort. But I do not seek comfort, I seek to activate and meet face to face the drive that stares at me when i sit still. The drive that makes me want to photograph when I see good light is the same drive that makes me wonder and ask questions. So my drive, is it humanitarian? Empathetic? Passionate? Selfish? Is it love or fulfillment that I search for? Or blog hits? Facebook friends? Are the things we as a society spend the most time on also the things we hold most dear? In this world of impersonal responses and friend requests, what is really your point to it all?
Randomly planned, I am thinking now where my homeless friend Bruce is now on this cold night. It is just another lonely night for him. He asks for candles for heat, gloves and a blanket for the cat he cares for in the abandoned sanctuary of a warehouse, keeping only the cold steel forged to fortify this nation with autos and wealth. Now that building, built in 1892, is Bruce’s home. Makes you think about what being thankful actually means and who you are thankful for for that. In a life where we can’t predict the economy let alone if we will be alive tomorrow or not, what really is there to bother you? If we don’t find what we are looking for in this world do we find ourselves in the gutter of despair or in a mansion of hope.
For those who don’t know who I am, I am a photographer. I am also a filmmaker. But to stop there would be only to set the things that I do as the definition of what I am. I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. I, like many, put success on different levels of obtainable and achievement and judge ourselves accordingly. The power in that is that we get to decide what all of that means; taking into account how others consider what we are doing, the overall thought on a community, national or global scale to what we are doing. We have the power to care or not care and we have the power to decide what makes us and what breaks us. What builds us up and what tears us down. Or do we? Does a dam chose to stop a river or is it the dam’s builder?
What looks like hope to you? What looks like gold? What shines on you like rays from the sun only more constantly than the clear days of your life? For me it is Jesus.
Guess what, “The Right” might be people who call themselves Christians, but in the Christian faith it is not up to the followers of Christ (those who go to church, those who read the Bible those who believe Jesus is the only Son of God) to bring judgement on others so if you don’t agree with Christianity because the people who follow it don’t agree with you, remember that Christianity is not about Christians, it is about Jesus Christ. That name will silence a conversation if the person saying it is actually talking about the man, Jesus Christ. That name will bring more division because of the egos that men carry and the pride that sets our self consciences above our peers. If we can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink and if we can put a man through school but not make him think then why do people think it is best to point at the opposite of what they think they are and call them wrong? My readers, man does not have the authority to tear another man down. We only have the authority to lift each other up. God is cool (if you can even put a name on the infinate pressence that started this world, whether speaking in Palin time or Darwin time).
If you have a problem putting the name God on what created us and this planet, awesome. Love that sign of respect. “The Creator” works just fine. Or simply, “The Provider”. I think the name God is thrown around way irrelevantly by many people, including myself. There is beautiful scripture in the Bible that talks about how much God loves us and provides for us and the scripture continues with talking about how if God provides for the sparrows, who don’t harvest or plan ahead, how much more will God provide for the children he created. (Christians say “He” because as the creater God is considered a paternal figure who knows best for us but gives us the freedom to chose what we want in this world).
So is the worth of me measured with my awards (which could get stolen), my 343 Facebook friends (120 or so whom I don’t know really at all), my 7321 blog visitors, my family, my cat, my car, my home, my personality, my looks, my faith, my God, my traveling, my escaping the US for far away places? I am not sure because I go back and fourth between all of it, excluding my cat. The one thing I know is that God loves me and that should be where I find my worth, that God loves me enough that He (all of the presence that made the birds and the trees, the mountains and the lakes, the cameras and the photographs and everything in this world besides what is evil), all of that came together and made a woman name Mary pregnant 9 months before the forgotten holiday of Christmas with a baby that would be names Jesus (Christ is not a last name, it means savior).
But woah, Savior? Christ? In this day where there are wars and famines, economies failing and people by the hundreds of thousands losing their jobs, most of which I have seen first hand. Why is Jesus’ last name Savior? We as the human race can do this life on our own. We have modern medicine and science and smart people who can plan stuff out that only screws the poorest of people. Well then, Savior, what can you do for me? You are quiet and it seems like you are never here, or never anywhere. If you love us why is all of this happening. Why are Christians always blaming you for things like Katrina or 9/11? Do they know?
I was going to be a scientist, a paleontologist to be specific. That doesn’t mean I am smart by the way. I just like dinosaurs. In all of my study and all the studies I have seen I see that the common thing in it all is that the scientist is searching, searching for the truth, searching for why things work, searching for why things are the way they are. It seems that “small” is still being defined and “big” is in that category too. In a world where people are searching, in this world where no one knows how small small is and how big big is, all that we don’t know in science is ok with us but all we don’t know in God is not. What if for a moment I with all the power and authority I have as a 26 year old single male with out a completed college education said that the word God was switched with the word Science. What would happen then? Would God seem more intricate or Science more aloof?
Have you ever lost your way? Have you ever felt tomorrows guilt today? Have you ever watched this world leave you behind? Won’t you take a chance and give a man, give a woman, give yourself, a home that can not be shaken or taken away. Do you know where to begin. No bags needed, no big breaths, just a release.
I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. The power of Jesus, oh how it is. I consider myself searching for what truth is and in that search I have found that it will make a weak man mighty and will make a mighty man fall, it will fill your heart or leave you with nothing at all, it will be the legs for the lame and the eyes for the blind. That is the power of the words found in the Bible which are alive because the same God that created the world long ago lives today in us and around us. And for me the Gospel is for everyman, every woman and every child. The power, the might power of the Gospel is that we get to have the choice to be a part of it or not.
It is now approaching 2:30 am. It still looks cold outside which brings me to my point; What is my point. Why the random photos I post in the posts before this, why give my thoughts on what is happening in my life. If there was a point where 100 people beat the same drum, would there be one drum beat that sounded different or one that would stand out from the rest if all the viewer did was listen? My mother told me to listen with my eyes and my ears will follow. One after another each of the hundred people beat the drum, the first one was one year old and the last one, in successeding year, was 100. Each beat was almost similar when only heard, but took on a life of it’s own when the source of the beat was witnessed. Then the beat became unique.
I want to change the people in the world, ruin them from average by showing them from my angle the way to find theirs.
In closing, a dear uncle of mine passed away a year ago. I miss him greatly. I would call him, not as often I should have, and he would tell me stories of his travels or about the books he was reading and I would listen. Much of my edicate came from him and his lessons on manners and supper conversations. In all the teachings, the one I learned and apply most in my life is how a simple “thank you” will “go a long way”. So thank you Jesus for everything you have done in my life.
A combination of artist and advocacy are the qualities and makes of a visual journalist. In the end it is up to the instincts that drives us as journalists one way or another, even if the outcome of our choices don’t produce a direct positive effort in our lives. To present cases for change by being there for strangers, friends, associates and peers will be what the vj inherently does when the crossroads of truth presented and what is the forgotten are approached.
This world needs the mixture of viewpoints. for there are four main types of viewpoints/people, the extremists, the moderates, the pacifists and then the (visual) journalist (who moderates all extremes in the most pacifist-ical way possible; by presenting visually, moments that we witness yet are removed from to leave open room for interpretation.