| At times even the most eloquent of words manage
to establish barriers between themselves and what they seek to represent.
Photographic images at their best are capable of tearing down these
barriers, for even though photographs do not represent reality, they do
represent a yardstick with which a viewer can measure the distance between
the subjective representations of the photographer’s vision of the world
with his own version of it. At
the same time, compelling photographs may induce us to verbally communicate
and reveal our emotional responses to that which has been viewed.
After a quarter of a century of making images of people from many distant
corners of the world I have concluded that the most powerful images are often
those that are not inundated with specific details but are universal in their
message. This is likely rooted in
the fact that all humanity yearns for the basic essentials of life: food,
shelter, love and the right to propagate and stake one’s claim of succession
in the passing tides of succeeding generations.
I have often been asked how I mange to establish such close rapport with
the peoples I photograph, even though I often find myself in parts of
the world where I share no common language or cultural affinity with my
photographic subjects. Quite simply, I have learned that the best way
to communicate with others is with your ears, as well as with your mouth.
A photographer of people must always remind himself that the reason
why he was born with two ears but only one mouth is because he should
spend at least twice as much time listening as he does talking. In addition
to listening, observing and studying
the actions of my photographic subjects I have developed the art of communicating
with words that need not be uttered.
These unspoken dialogues between myself and those I photograph
have permitted me to dissect away at the visual chaos presented, enabling
me to portray the essence of that reveled-the beauty in the simplicity
I have succumbed to the fact that the best I may achieve in my photographic
pursuits is to in some meaningful way attempt to heighten and accentuate the
details of the everyday realities of life which are presented to me.
I stress that the resulting images, derived from my sojourns are
interpretations based on my personal, social and visual interactions with the
human and non-human elements of the countries visited.
The viewer should at all times keep in mind that a photograph is a
subjective recording of the raw materials of truth presented to the
The depiction of people at the crossroads of their existence has always
excited my photographic eye. From
the first time I took camera to hand this has remained an area of interest
that has pricked the sides of my photographic intent.
I love the hidden and exposed wisdom of their life stories.
I have encountered many people around the world who have spoken of
their trials and tribulations and even though many were close to facing the
final curtain of their lives, I have so often been amazed by their universal
expressions of compassion and hopes for humanity.
Indeed, if the old represent where we came from then the young must suggest
where we are going. Working with these two extremes of the human scale I feel
that photography allows the unique opportunity of recording the flowers of
yesterday and the seedlings of our tomorrows.
In photographing children I am always forced to look into their eyes
and reveal the sincerity of my intentions.
Children are extremely perceptive.
Their finely attuned senses are much too astute to allow them to be
mislead. In conversing wit them I
forget the chase of the “decisive moment”.
I have learned to slow down and allow the moments to present themselves
in all their visual glory within the temporal framework of our encounters.
In photographing children I have had to present myself in such a
fashion that they resigned themselves to say, “Okay, here I am, as I am”.
The rest has then been up to me.
People are conditioned by their own cultural values.
However, I have experienced time and time again that when I have left
my preconceived notions at my doorstep and participated in the unspoken
dialogues shared between men and women of all persuasions that I have been
treated to the grandest spectacles-the universal verses of humanity.