When I first got into photography, I wanted do shoot wildlife. You know, get a 600mm lens and spend six months hiding in a tent and photographing all kinds of animals. That was my dream.
But dreams change.
As I got more and more into photography, I started to look at things a bit differently — first of all because a 600mm lens is crazy expensive for a teenager who is just starting out. But then I looked at the work of various photographers and felt inspired by some. I loved that they could capture a portrait of someone else in such a way that you felt like you knew that person. And then they would shoot the same person in a totally different way and they would look like someone else. Wow. How did they do that?
I wanted to know how to do that so I started studying light. I read a lot. And I mean a lot. Books, blogs, websites, you name it — I read it all. And I practiced. Again and again and again.
I got to a point where I was O.K. with my lighting but then it hit me: “Why am I doing this? What do I want to say with these images?”
And that brought me to where I am today.
I don’t think I want to shoot wildlife anymore; over the years, I’ve fallen in love with photographing people. But I want to do something with meaning.
This is how my project “Wabi-Sabi” started out. I was concerned that all of those amazing people would be the last ones doing what they do. After them, there will be no one else. And I felt like I needed to embrace that issue and share it with the world through my photography.
This is what I love to do.
It’s a long term project that has no deadline and I also love that: it gives me the flexibility I need to shoot whenever and wherever I can without feeling guilty about it. I’m shooting all this project on film and that’s another thing I like about it. Digital photography is an amazing thing but I felt it was too… clean. Too perfect for this. I like the look I get with film and I think it totally makes sense here, given the origins of this documentary project.