Monday, September 13, 2010
I've always said that being a photographer really isnt about taking pictures at all for me....taking the pictures is just the vehicle that gets me in close intimate contact with people and experiences all over the world, which i crave. And the more i do meet people of all colors, ethnicities, religions, etc. on my shoots, and spend this intimate time with them, the more i realize we are all exactly the same. Same wants, needs, fears, insecurities, desires. I've shot presidents, rap stars, actors, nazis, athletes, business titans, middle class families, billionaires, the poor, and everything in between......and guess what, they were all the same person. I've known this for a long time now, and it's afforded me the ability to walk in and out of vastly different situations with comfort and ease. I've shot huge rap stars one day, and the next day white supremacist nazis. It's all just been part of the education and journey that is my life. And i've always come out relatively unscathed and better from the experience.......But nothing in my life experience has shaken me or made me stare in the mirror and think like the process of taking the pictures in this post. These kids are all orphans, on an orphan soccer team, that i shot last month in ethiopia. Most of them are HIV positive, all of them are playing an unfair hand that life has dealt them, parents dead from HIV, nowhere to go but the orphanage. I was there shooting for the WWO (world wide orphans foundation) and Dr. Jane Aronson, for a week with my wife, shooting Doc doing her work, and generally trying to capture all that the WWO and Doc do in the world of orphans. And these kids believe or not really are the lucky ones. Great health care, good food, an education. But still no family or parents to read to them or tuck them in at night like we do for Henry. Stuff we take for granted but every kid really needs. These soccer pics came at the end of the trip, and I really wanted to show them just like any soccer team, so i got the muslin locally and hung it as a backdrop. It was such an awesome experience as they were so proud of their uniforms and soccer skills, truly inspirational..... In another profound twist of my career, the day after i got back I shot the ESPN cover thats in the next post above this one. I was sitting there in the studio munching on a delicious catered breakfast before the shoot, and ironically shooting kids again, but with far different hands that were dealt to them. That was the moment that it really hit me. Not guilt for being lucky and dealt a good hand, just that profound understanding again of how truly similar we all are, trying to make the best of the hand that was dealt to us. Just remember that.
Posted by nathaniel at 7:12 PM