Dominica Film Project
A few years ago I traveled to Domnica as part of the Dominica Film Project. I worked with my teammate Kristen Kellog of Border Free Travels to create content and a short film for The Tourism Board of Dominica. The content created helps them promote eco-toursim.
In 2015 I spent some time in Panama. The first week was for the Just Add Water Yoga Retreat, led by my good friend Caitlin Marcoux (you can see this adventure by clicking here. ) After the retreat I set out for a few weeks of solo adventure, meeting new friends and of course spending time with horses, something I try to do anywhere I go! In Cambutal I spent time with Roberto and the horses of Los Buzos. We rode through the mountains, stopped by his village to meet his family and also galloped down the beach to end the day. It’s always a fun challenge to photograph while flying around on the horses. After such a magical time in Cambutal I took a few local busses up to Panama City where I fell in love with Casco Viejo also known as ‘Old Town’ Panama. There is beautiful old architecture and a city with a lot of character – and characters! One day I wandered down the street and saw amazing art work through a tiny door….I walked in and said hello. I was lucky to meet Frank and Paul of ‘Eventos Especiales’ where they build the floats and sculptures for Carnival and other events in Panama. I spent time at their workshop and got to see a really interesting behind the scenes of their work. Lastly in this post there’s a collection of photos from the San Blas Islands. I kept hearing about these islands and was so intrigued. A place where the Kuna Indians rule the islands and self govern, where they still dress in traditional clothing of beautiful Molas. There are about 375 islands scattered throughout the Caribbean Coast of Panama. The crystal clear blue waters, dreamy sunsets and interesting people we met made for a truly incredible few days. The trip to Panama reminded me the importance of not knowing what the next moment or the next day will look like. Embracing the unknown is one of my favorite parts of traveling and when you go it alone I believe you grow in truly unique ways. Here is a portrait of my visit to Panama.
Mabul Island, Malaysia
In 2014 I photographed my cousin’s wedding in Australia and after a few months of traveling I decided to extend my trip. Ben Phillips, my longtime friend from Nantucket had been inviting me to visit him on Mabul Island in Malaysia, so I called him again and we made a plan.
He was working on the island as a dive instructor at Uncle Chang’s Dive Lodge. He said that I would love it….he was right.
After three flights, a night in Tawau and a bus ride I boarded the boat in Semporna for a 45 minute ride to the island. I was almost there. All of a sudden I could see this tiny island, of sand, funky wooden buildings on stilts and a few palm trees…..we had reached Mabul and Ben was on the end of the dock waving. As soon as I arrived Ben instantly took me walking around the entire island which only takes about 20 minutes….the island is less than 50 acres. Ben knew everyone, fellow dive instructors, fisherman and many of the local people in the villages, everyone was so welcoming.
We spent a lot of time under the sea scuba diving and exploring the amazing reef and marine life but when I was above water I spent time in the villages and photographing the daily life, culture and people that occupy this very unique island. There are two main fishing villages the “Kampung Mabul” and “Kampung Musu.” There are approximately 2,000 villagers living in Mabul and half of them are children below the age of 14 years old. This comes as no surprise as you walk around the island you are constantly surrounded by children. They are playing games, collecting sea food at low tide, fishing with their parents and playing marbles or drawing pictures in the sand. Many of the families have immigrated from the islands of the Southern Philippines.
This is a collection of images from the time I spent in Mabul with my dear friend Ben.
Project Have Hope
Here is a video and collection of images from the Acholi Quarter. In 2012 I spent time working with and photographing the people and work of Project Have Hope. For more info about the Acholi Quarter and Project Have Hope visit their website at Project Have Hope.
Arise and Shine Uganda
In 2012 I was on a bus from Jinja to Kampala City, Uganda and I met a girl named Renate Sluiseman from the Netherlands. She lived in Jinja and worked with Arise and Shine Uganda, a community organization that helps children in need. After talking with her for most of the ride I told her I would love to learn more about their organization and do some photography for them when I returned to Jinja the following weekend.
Here is a collection of images I made for them. We spent time at their babies home for orphans and disabled children and made the journey out to their nursery and primary school in Kibuye – Kamuli. They used these images for education others on what they do and for fundraising efforts. For more information and other recent happenings you can visit their Facebook Page.
Labartine the Artisan
Throughout my time in Uganda in 2012 I also met many amazing individuals with stories to share.
Meet Labartin, an artist, shoemaker, and screen printer who lives in Kampala city and uses his art to make a difference. Over a few games of pool at Kibira we talked a lot about his art and I realized he was a unique person with incredible motivation and drive to improve his life and the lives of others around him through his work. Later in the month Labartin and I spent a big day cruising around Kampala City and checking out his world. We first went to his studio in the middle of the community where he grew up. His grandmother and extended family still live there next to the studio. After checking out the studio we cruised downtown to the shoe factory he used to work in and where he still goes to fulfill big orders for shoemaking.
“I was born in the ghetto which doesn’t mean I have to live that way my whole life. I create a difference in my society while using art to help support my extended family. One hand can’t clap alone and so I try to teach others my craft so we can work together to fulfill orders. When I get bigger orders for shoes and shirts I use a factory downtown where I used to work to fulfill them.” Labartin is also conscious of the youth around him and helping them learn about art. “During holidays when the kids don’t have school I run art classes at the studio and teach them how to do screen printing and make shoes.”
Later on he showed me old family photos and discussed his life growing up and how it wasn’t easy. “As you look at this photo, this is my family. I am the kid front and center without a shirt on. I come from way down in the ghetto as you can see here. When I was young we didn’t have lots and lots. I would live bare chested or without shoes and that was life. I was born into a family that couldn’t afford those things and now I have my own business making them for others. If you create something unique you will always have people around to support you. To me art is an element that can change the situation that I was born into. When I look at these photos I remember how far I’ve come in this life.”
Here is a story from a very special New Year’s Eve. It was 2014 and I had been traveling for a little while after photographing my cousin’s wedding in Perth. As the year came to a close I had an idea, I wanted to go to Sydney! Most people book their plans and accomodation months in advance so when I called the YHA Hostel right by the Opera House and they told me the had just had a cancellation I was beyond happy! Surely this was a good sign! I booked in and began to figure out a plan. Upon arriving at the Hostel I met some great girls who were excited to watch the fireworks from the iconic Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. I did some research the day before and the even staff explained that people camp out the night before to get in and get a good spot! On New Year’s Eve morning we woke up around 6 am and headed to get into line. This was the start of a very long day but it was well worth it as I wanted to photograph the whole experience and of course the fireworks. This particular part of the park holds 17,000 viewers and everyone is a photographer! Everyone was excited for good vantage points but it wasn’t easy getting a good spot! Throughout the day we continued to make friends with other travelers and met lots of new friends. The crowd that gathered was literally from every end of the world. I had a great day photographing the people, the snacks, the lights, the super long lines, the crowds, the little rain storm and more. As the clock struck midnight I was with my friends and standing in a tight crowd with some great people from Taiwan. As fate had it we ended up with a fabulous spot and the 18 hr day was truly unforgettable. Everyone I met and talked to had a different story of how they had decided to welcome in the New Year in Sydney….and everyone was very excited! The theme for the this year’s display was “Shine” and it was the biggest display in the history of Sydney’s Fireworks Show. For the first time since the Millennium night, over 1000 specially designed fireworks launched off the sails of the Sydney Opera House in celebration of its 40th Anniversary! Here’s a glimpse into our day and night in Sydney Australia!