Tag Archives: Politics

It seems as the tides are turning in both directions tomorrow and the next day to follow, they will turn again. A leadership will present by simply being present a new set of humanitarian morals and moral never before seen in the eyes of those who look to him and those who look at him. A type of checks and balances not for the White House, Congress, corporations, CEOs or CFOs but for the individual, brought on by the outlets for paid professionals’ opinion and research,  will decide that today the tide of tomorrow will not touch or determine the ebbs and flows of how we think, treat, love or wonder about another human being.

A recession has been announced and the scape goats counted for slaughter yet the individual has voted and set their own didactic to play.  31 days after 9/11 I could see a recession begin. 5 days after 9/11 I witnessed with my collegial set vision, what was confusion and questioning for the previous 96 hours started to take shape coast, as they say, to coast, caressed by the humbled hands of catastrophe into what some but not all regions of this country are known for; hospitality. A country filled with pride for brotherhood. A country filled with the thought of others, what a beautiful thing.  It is odd to me that the two proudest times in my life were the months after 9/11 and when I think of where we are going with Barack Obama. Not that where we are going with Mr. Obama is the to the promised land but it is to a place where as an African American young man I interviewed in Grant Park 5 hours before Mr. Obama would win said, “If President Elect Barack Obama wins, we (African Americans) will have no excuse.”

If we as a nation in this time of change could not only change how we think of the big R but also change where it is and where it belongs in our lives than “Change” will occur.  Lives are lived, from others perspectives, as slogans of religion, education, perception or constitution.  God Bless “fill another country’s name here”. I believe we are already blessed with more than enough. Oh, a recession, a humbling point to where not only auto makers but baby makers, baby dadies, mamas, drama mamas and everyone in between are forced to check the empty space in their wallet for the “insert budget guidelines here” tab and await its removal with our hopeful minds set on the $700 Billion removal fee. What is a recession without the hope for a better time when all of us can go out and buy whatever we want whenever we want it? It is 2:22 am and I will finish this tomorrow, wait, I’m sorry, make that later today.

Understand that time wears out the springs (in both the water and metallic sense) of hope that only rest on the consequences of the moment and ignorance. Even then though, the ripples and repercussions of that hope are counted and considered answers to prayer in countries you’ve never been to and in children lives you will never get to meet.  It appears that when the hours that separate tomorrow from today melt together without an eye closed to miss it, things just end up being all the same.*

*Yes I was inpsired after watching the Jack Bower in the  24 kickoff to write this message.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

Over 7,000 people from over 50 Countries have come to this blog, woah humbled.

This map represents 834 people from over 40 Countries who have come to this blog in the past month. 7,000 people have come in the past 6 months that I have had this. Thank you for being one of them.

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.

Photograph by Stephen McGee

"photographs to make you think" by Stephen McGee

Hoan, 21, born without legs, came to America in October to talk around the country about the affects of Agent Orange.

Some off the moments of 21 year old Hoan’s travels while she went around the country telling people about the affects of dioxin agent orange.  More Photographs, a video, to come and a written article too.

Hoan climbs into the car.

Hoan climbs into the car.

Hoan, 21, crawls over a barrier at the overlook of San Francisco.

Hoan, 21, crawls over a barrier at the overlook of San Francisco.

Hoan visits prosthetics doctor in hope of new legs.

Hoan visits prosthetics doctor in hope of new legs.

From the outside to the in, Hoan has very little fear of both mental and physical obstacles in her life. She smiles more than anyone I know and in the next post about her, you too can see how her life is lived and learn more about the amazing stories of the millions like her being born today in Vietnam because of what America sprayed in Vietnam over 30 years ago.

How do you cope/conquer your fears?

Just an encouraging word for people who are in difficult times. Please understand that God is always there for you and has a plan for you if you come to him.  I would like to remind you that Christianity is not about Christians, it is about Christ.

Stand firm in faith with me, with all believers, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ encourages us and I encourage you. Tomorrow God has appointments in your fears and you CAN conquer them with the full armor of our Lord. It is not time to sleep or stand content, it is not time to put hope in our president (whom I support), but it is time to be a light reflecting in the true hope and true love that is Christ Jesus. Speak in love. Praise God.

Praise God for all of you brothers and sisters. I wish I had time to write all that God has been teaching me over these past weeks of travel documenting everything from Barack Obama to victims of Agent Orange, painters to volunteers, airports to fellow journalists. I want to and will Lord willing do so in the next week.

I leave for NYC for a big shoot I have on Monday and Tuesday next week. Please pray. I will then stay in NYC for 6 more days. Pray for my ministry and confidence in Christ.

From Austin Black’s ( monthly email..

Copyrighted Photographs by Stephen McGee

September 4, 2008 will forever be known as a historic day in Detroit’s political landscape.  The youngest mayor in the city’s history resigned from office after an 8-month scandal that rocked city government and led the headlines daily. Although it seems the debacle is coming to an end, this is by no means is a time for celebration.

Mayor Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor elected in the city’s history in 2001. When he entered office, he promised “revolutionary” changes to the city. Some of the Mayor’s accomplishments include the RiverWalk, the Westin Book Cadillac hotel and condominiums, new residential developments throughout the city and property tax relief for Detroit’s neighborhoods.

As a Detroit resident and advocate of the city’s revitalization, I supported the Mayor’s vision and recognized his accomplishments. At the same time the events that have unfolded this year have been a major distraction and damaging to the city. Closure is necessary for us as a city, region and state to move forward.

Mayor Kilpatrick cannot blame anyone but himself for the situation he is in today.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Mayor Kilpatrick, Christine Beatty, their families and the city of Detroit.

I have seen Barack Obama speak every time he has been in Detroit campaigning. For the first time,  it was 2006 and I was covering the event for the Detroit Free Press. That is when I first understood what he was about. Well actually, that was the first time I even really began to know who he really was. He captivated his supporters at Cobo Hall. I was along the back of the row filming. During his speech, it seemed as though I was the only journalist really looking at him, really listening to him, really excited he was here. I am a (was) a Republican Moderate until I heard Obama speak.  Mostly because I just really like the guy. For what he stands for, yes, most of it. But I remember coming back from that speech, walking on Fort Street the 5 blocks to the Free Press building entrance excited for the possibility of having Obama be president. That was 2 years ago.

The next time I covered Obama in Detroit was June 2008 and I shot with a 1962 Polaroid camera with ISO 75 film.  I arrived at 5pm and the speech was at 8pm. I had a flight that night for Honduras/El Salvador for another asignment for E+Co ( which took off at 1am. I hadn’t packed or checked my gear. But I knew I wanted to be at this rally.  I got clearance to be “Press” by standing in the Press line. Very difficult. I would argue that I was photographing for my documentary I am making about Detroit. Anyways. I walked into the floor of Cobo Arena to the sound of thousands of people chanting various Obama cheers. “Yes We Can”. As I entered I did this walking 360, spinning around amazed at the site of reporters and supporters, police and babies, signs and stands.

Looking back at the event today, I realized how much the people of Detroit need something to believe in, something to chear about.  My first suggestion would be God, for he is good. During the speech I would turn around to watch people watching Barack. People would have a relaxed look on their face. Relaxed and confident. They would take deep breaths without the little tug at the end deep in their chest. No one was speaking at all until he gave us something to chear about.

Obama speaks about Change. Change from what to what I wonder. I have traveled much in 26 years and seen what we in the USA call “developing countries”.  We call them developing as if we were developed. In a person’s life, learning is life long. Until they are no more. This nation needs change, we need to understand where we need to go next. The racial card has been played for the past 50 years+ and now, I believe, it is time we get over it. I am all about equality, but equality without acknowledgement of color. My new friend from Puerto Rico says, “There are too many people too close together in Puerto Rico for there to be division. People are just people”. Obama is change to me. Sometimes I don’t even think you need to know where the change will take you, or even where it will come from. Just one person saying, “Things will Change” is what we need here and now. When I drive around Detroit looking for photographs, I see that we are not too far from a developing country too. If we cease to develop as a country though, we cease to mature as a nation.

In my travels I have seen how much the world hates our government, America. It is amazing the bubble that we live in. It is not our fault. Other countries like Ghana and Sweden, Vietnam and Cambodia, have a plethora of Americana in their everyday lives. Most of their movies, shows, music and pop culture comes from the States. Now multiply that by a bizillion and that is what we live in. It is hard for us to get out of it. Nor do we really want to. (WE being the average citizen from my observation). When the Georgian war started I was in Sicily and never felt closer to a foriegn war. I wanted to be there to document.

There was a lot of waiting for over 200000 Michiganders trying to catch a gander of Barack Obama today at the Heart Plaza in downtown Detroit. I live about 1 mile away from Heart Plaza so my goal was to park as close as I could without getting stuck in after event traffic. I took Atwater drive and parked within a 20 minute walk. Now with this being Labor Day, I was hoping that the GM Starbucks was going to be not excercising the holiday.  And much to my happiness there were four baristas ready to take my order. With a caramel macch I was out the door charged to document this event. First photo I took was of a group of pigeons that reminded me of the workers taking a lunch break over the skyline of New York photograph.

Getting closer to the crowd the noise made it clear that there were a lot of people waiting for Obama. You needed to arrive 3 hours earlier than I did to be able to get a golden ticket to get into the actual event. For the 40000 others like me who did not, we were stuck outside watching a huge screen. Obama took the stage and the crowd erupted. Just a few days after taking the nomination, I was expecting a go get’m speech from Obama. Instead in what seemed to be only 3 minutes, Obama hit the Detroit crowd with as few of words as he could have said to make his points clear and still woo us, the audience.

In between photographs I was pumping my fist in support after he opened up his speech with singing the Aretha song, “Chain Chain chain” which received a lot of clapping and started the mass to become a choir. From what I hear, Obama cut short his planned speech and instead asked for prayers for those in the Gulf Coast facing the wrath of Hurricane Gustav. After the moment of silence he stated that in this America, many of us are going through silent storms in our own lives.  Even though the speech was only a few minutes long, I was further charged to vote for Obama. As quickly as it began it had ended and the exodus had begun.It was clear some supporters were disappointed in Obama’s small speech but I have a feeling he will be back here before the election.

McCain’s big week is being trumped in the news by the hurricane in the South. I have a friend, Garrett Hubbard, who is there right now covering the hurricane for USA Today.

For his second event in Michigan, Obama went to Monroe and began speaking a little after 1:15 p.m., telling the audience that he was again going to shorten his speech in light of Hurricane Gustav, just as he did earlier in Detroit.

He championed the labor movement saying “if it had not been for organized labor America wouldn’t have the middle class that we know. ”

Referring to Hurricane Gustav, Obama said “in times like these it’s a reminder that with all our differences, we are one America.

A few of you have asked me to write.

An image that corrupted before I could download it tells the story of a kiss in a train station and it's surroundings.

An image that corrupted before I could download it tells the story of a kiss in a train station and it's surroundings.

Closing an amazing service 32 miles north of Detroit, the call came for those who had sin in their life to come forward and repent. I hesitated and closed my eyes with a breath to contemplate. Opening them I found my pew neighbor on my left had gone up to the front. Encouraged by his faith and humility I approached the alter and raised my hands.

When I close my eyse to pray during the times I am alone, i have to disregard all of the static noise that my mind comes up with to hinder my thoughts to distract. All of those distractions are exactly what I want to write about now. I wish I could write more. If I felt more up to it I would write about the art space I looked at today, the men scrapping the buildings left vacant as they threw out refrigerators out of the 12th story window, I would write about visiting Chicago last week, my amazing friend Amos, what it is like having an employee for the first time, leadership, my grandma, finishing movies, having absolutly no idea where to go next in my life, having no jobs on the horizon, not going to the Emmys again even though I was nominated for another one. I would want to discuss who I think I am and who I think God thinks I am at this stage in my life. I would talk more about my travels, about Sicily. I would want to write about my thoughts on my next project which is about a documentary on Detroit. I would talk about Joshua and Saul. I would talk about receiving God’s anointing. About my friend who just lost her father to cancer. I would talk about how I have received emails from believers encouraged by my faith as well as believers who I don’t even know needed God’s direction in their life. I would talk about biking in Detroit, strange things about me like craving apples if I wake up in the middle of the night and then also my Dad ( who is so cool). I would talk about my sister and how she is awesome and about her son, Calub, who is the most constant joy in my life. Thank you God for him. I would want to address me and my life, about how the 7 countries this year changed me. I would want to try and find patterns in my faith and see how those patterns in discipline affected my everything. I also want to write a book.

Basically, to all who expressed interest in my life, wanting me to write more, I am sorry, I haven’t been in the mood. That is no excuse. I will try tomorrow morning.