“Firsthand Accounts” is a photo series that portrays stories of ordinary people from all walks of life. This project offers a voice to the voiceless — unique individuals seeking to share lessons from their life experiences. In turn, these lessons, or “accounts” will serve as “firsthand” evidence to bridge a connection with a wider audience. All personal anecdotes documented in this series were organically collected through chance encounters in downtown Austin, Texas.
How are we increasingly impacted by our own echo chambers in the modern world? Your cozy swamp. Your own world, where everything is according to your rules. Only your principles, values, and interests. Only you are always right, and you are the measure of vice and virtue. Information that isn’t annoying. Events that don’t throw you off balance. Peace of mind and no worries. And the less the wind of change penetrates from outside, the calmer the water in this swamp, the stranger its inhabitants….
How can negative emotional experiences be transformed into opportunities for individual growth?
“This past August, the universe delivered to me the ocean as my higher power when in a deep depression. Though I cannot hold onto water, I can hold it in a special place in my heart. I love to take long walks on the beach to be in the presence of the water, and to witness the ocean’s vastness, blueness, and beauty.” — Sophia Falco
“The contemplation of things as they are without error, confusion, substitution, or imposture is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of inventions.” – Francis Bacon, 1605. (Dorothea Lange pinned a printout of these words on her darkroom door in 1933.) This is Hong Kong just before the protests, before people gathered in the streets to protest curtailment of their human rights. Faces in the street show regret, innocence, aggravation, anger, fitness, anonymity, acceptance, contemplation, joy, isolation — as if everyone were pausing with deep glances with the knowledge the life they lead might end soon, ennobling an idea they no longer take for granted, i.e., their own freedom.
How does human existence serve to continually alter our environment? Are we destroying the very ground we require to survive? The “Transitory Space” series deals with urban and natural locations that are transforming due to the passage of time, altered natural conditions, and a continual human imprint. It articulates fluctuations in the photographic image and captures movements through time, perception, and space.
Is it just me, or is life just surreal? The common theme of this photo series is conveying everyday surreality. Granted that New York is a very good place to capture this, but to some degree, examples of this can be found everywhere. There is normality and order, and then there are exceptions to this. I find the exceptions stirring. Is there a moral or profound conclusion? I don’t think so. Some aspects of life can escape notice to an untrained eye — I used my camera to linger on them long enough, intending to bring them more firmly into the conscious mind.
To be human is to be a paradox. Celebration tinged with tragedy. Hardship inspiring resilience. Happiness inviting discipline. The state of “human-ness” is a condition of being and becoming. Whatever we are now, we are never fully actualized. Even in youth, we age. We are forever in flux, ever realizing abeyant potential. At any given point, we are any and all of these things simultaneously. The photo series, “Paradox: The Human Condition,” gathers these layers of paradox into two-dimensional stills — snapshots of the “human condition” sampled from different lives. Together, they form a harmonized arc illustrating beginnings and ends, and beginning again.
The following inventory project is intertwined with the pain of restricted freedom of movement in this current health crisis period. From this grounded place, a longing for intimate places outside the confines of the home arises. Each of these images is part of an inventory count of moments that were taken for granted and are no longer so.
Loss can present itself in a variety of ways: death of a friend or loved one, a relationship breakup, leaving home or moving to a new place, loss of physical ability, loss of financial security, etc. Sudden loss (like crimes, accidents, or suicide) leaves no room to prepare, while predictable loss creates grief related to the anticipation of the loss, as well as the loss itself. The experience of loss is profoundly human, yet it is often something we suffer alone, in solitude. How do we build resilience against future losses? Can we ever replace that which we grieve?
How are the current conditions affecting us? The fear of catching Covid-19, the fear of spreading it. The political turmoil in the United States and what feels like an impasse in communication, in discourse. How are the restrictions and isolation affecting our mental health? Sometimes, we need to look backward in order to move forward. The following photo essay takes us through this time unknown.