At first, photography for me was just a way to create visual memories of my travels and wilderness adventures. However, it didn’t take long before I was no longer content to just take blurry pictures showing where I was, who I was with and what I was doing.
I started by taking a photography class which led me to photographers like Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams and more. Very quickly I became consumed with a passion to create images that were full of color, life, emotion and depth.
For many years I focused on strictly landscape, nature and adventure photography, which I still enjoy today. However, in 2009 my wife and I took a month long trip to North India, which changed our personal lives and my professional focus as a photographer.
From the moment we landed in India, I was like a kid in a candy shop. Everything was new, exciting and layered with photographic possibilities We visited ancient ruins, famous monuments, religious holy sites and more. We stayed in mega-cities of 25 million people and tiny villages of just several hundred.
The biggest thing though that I walked away from that trip with was a new awareness of Muslim peoples and cultures. Of course India is known for being the largest Hindu country in the world, but on that journey we kept meeting so many Muslims.
This impacted me so much because like so many Americans, until September 11th, 2001 I really had never thought about Muslims or certainly ever met one. Moreover, all I had heard about Muslims, especially after 9/11 was they were all terrorists.
When we returned from India, I share and presented images and stories about my trip to groups and individuals. As I did this, among other things, I shared that we had interacted with Muslims in India. Time and time again, I had people with hatred, bigotry, fear, prejudice and misunderstanding.
As I experienced this more, I recognized an opportunity to use my photography to tell stories about real people that happened to be Muslim. I wanted to help people see not all Muslims are terrorists. I wanted them to see past their clothing, past their beliefs and past the stereotypes and unfounded biases that become so closely associated with Muslims.
Since that trip, I have been back to India ten times, created thousands of portraits and documentary images of Muslims in India, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and more.
Additionally, I have worked on personal projects and assignments for Non-Profit, Non-Governmental organizations, Social entrepreneurships and other socially-minded companies who are working to bless, serve and benefit Muslim communities and others that are overlooked, misunderstood, stereotyped, persecuted, forgotten and hated.
Being a global explorer and nomad, I still love travel, landscape, nature and adventure photography. However, I cannot shake my vision and passion for creating images, stories and personal projects that advocate for truth, justice and the reality that all people are made in God’s image and are innately beautiful and worthy of honor and respect