The element of discovery is very important…I want and need that stimulus of walking forward from one world to another. -- Margaret Bourke-White, Photojournalist.
I prowled the streets all day…determined to trap life – to preserve life in the act of living. -- Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photojournalist.
Growing up in a family that used world atlases and National Geographic magazines as inspiration for family discussions and in a house in which we had a photographic darkroom (my father was a World War II photographer), I, at a very early age learned to appreciate the art of camera technique and black and white photography. It, therefore, was natural for me to become not only a serious traveller, but I quickly discovered that with my knowledge of photography, a camera was an excellent introduction and means to doing what I enjoyed most, being with people of different cultures. Therefore, it was a perfect combination for me to pursue and receive a Masters Degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology with a specialized interest in Visual Anthropology.
As a photographer, the camera acts as a mechanism with which I can take life and reflect it as the art of ‘doing’ life. I enjoy people, and I study people: I study the character in their faces, and I study their different lifestyles as reflective of the influences of environment and culture. I attempt to capture the essence of who people are and what they do in the ‘performance of life’ in order to come to an understanding of the ‘why of life’…WHY do people do what they do?
I have been on the photographic road since I was 17 years old when I boarded a bus and travelled through Mexico and Central America. Later, I was asked to go to Nicaragua to photograph the Sandinista revolutionary leaders – my first photographs to be published. The years 1970 thru 1980, were spent researching, writing and photographically documenting village economics in the Peruvian Amazon. I later travelled and worked in Southeast Asia, India and South Africa; I curated two exhibitions: one at the Riverside Museum in Southern California and another at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Through the power of the photograph, my ultimate hope is that others will appreciate both the commonalities and differences among peoples as they go about doing life which is simply a reflection of how we all strive for happiness in our own various ways. To this end, to promote an understanding of the human condition, I am most currently (2008-Present) working under the auspices of Global Humanitarian Photojournalists (an affiliate of the United Nations Association in California) on The Kashmiri Project: The Other Martyrs which documents the work of two Kashmiri doctors treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) in rural Kashmiri women.
*2007 - Published IN FULL-FRAME, PORTRAITS OF GUJARAT, text and 140 colour photographs.
*2008 - Staff Photographer for the Tibetan Olympics in McLeod Gunj.
*9/2009 – Two photography exhibitions: Johannesburg, South Africa:
Shared History, The Indian Experience in South Africa: Kashmiri Cuisine
(Indian High Commission and Arts Alive Festival).
Shared Spaces, Shared Realities: Installation: The Communities of Johannesburg (‘Fietas Festival’).
Photographic Works in Progress:
‘Beauty in the Belly of the Beast: Kashmir 1989-2009.
‘Talk Townships’: Townships of Johannesburg.
Currently my year is divided between three countries: the United States where my family resides in California; South Africa where I have a home in Johannesburg; and India where on Nageen Lake, Kashmir, I have a doonga [small houseboat] on which I have the pleasure of living for three or so months each year.
“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life”. – Henri Cartier-Bresson.