Monday, July 26, 2010

Mom and the Twins

As I drove to my office this past Friday morning, this scene caught my eye.  It was about 200 yards from my office.  Thankfully, I had a camera on the seat next to me.  I pulled over, lowered the passenger-side window and started clicking.  I never even unbuckled my seat belt.

One of my favorite American photographers, Jay Maisel, says, "It's very difficult to get a great shot if you don't have your camera."  I had the pleasure of hearing him say that in-person and I've never forgotten it.

I love seeing deer, especially fawns that are still in their spots. It was special -- made my day.

Here's to twins.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Waiting for My Soul


It seems like I've been going non-stop for a month or more. In the last four weeks I have been in Toronto, Minneapolis, Port au Prince, and New York City. This is the first weekend in a while that I've had a chance to sit down. I am very grateful to be busy doing a job I love, but I really felt the need to take a deep breath. I've finally been able to do that this weekend.

Today in Church, our Pastor told the following story:
A group of Americans made a trip with Brazilian natives down the Amazon River. The first day they rushed. The second day they rushed. The next day they rushed. The next day, anxious to continue the trek, they were surprised to find the natives seated together in a circle. When asked the reason for the delay, a guide answered, "They are waiting. They cannot move further until their souls have caught up with their bodies."

The story really resonated with me. I think I was meant to hear it. It's amazing to me how the right message seems to come my way just when I need it. I know it's not a coincidence. And I know where the messages come from. I just need to do a better job of listening.

(Photo above: Rice paddy, Bali Indonesia, November 2009)


Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Good Reminder

Last week, Jay reminded me of this image I captured a while back. I was glad she reminded me of this one, because I need constant reminders of how richly blessed I am.
I've always thought that a person's shoes tell a pretty accurate story of their circumstances -- their work, their passtime or their wealth (or lack there of). Think about it -- work boots, running shoes, hiking boots, dress shoes, flip flops, etc.
In the case of the young fellow above:

two lefts
two colors
too small
too worn

These are the shoes of an orphan.


Thursday, July 15, 2010



During our trip to Haiti, we witnessed far more than death and destruction. In fact, our mission was for the defined purpose of witnessing Hope. And we found it....remarkably, we found it.

This will be my final post of images from Haiti. However, in the coming days and weeks Ron and I will be revealing a website (and more) that we think will tell a story that is dying to be told. A true story of Hope.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010



I have visited my share of third world countries, but when I hit the ground in Haiti, I was in shock. Haiti was bad before the earthquake. And now there are 1.7 million people without a home. The magnitude of it all is incomprehensible. It was very difficult to look at. And I'm usually pretty good at looking at things.

Believe it or not, however, the biggest culture shock of all was coming back to the United States. It always is. At least it is whenever I return from a land of the "have nots".
Ron (my colleague) and I experienced the following:
  • We slept in a tent for 5 nights on ground covered with gravel.
  • We did not change clothes daily, as extra clothing would take up too much precious space. I wore the same pants all week.
  • Ate peasant food for 5 days (although I happen to like it).
  • Rode in the back of pick-up trucks over roads not suitable for oxen -- our "air-conditioning" was 45 mph super-heated air.
  • Spent the entire day in the hot sun with temps at or above 100 degrees F. Night-time lows of 80 F.
  • Took daily medication to ensure we didn't get malaria.
I'm not complaining. We had it good great compared to the 1.7 million living in tents or under tarps. And I really believe I was meant to be there. I loved that about it.  Re-entry into my world of over-consumption, walk-in closets, three-car garages, air conditioning, three square meals, Big Gulps and Starbucks on every corner now seems way over the top to me. I am glad for that.

Later this week, I'll be staying at one of the nicest hotels in New York City. It was chosen for me by my client who will be in the same hotel. I'll have every comfort of home and then some.....and I'll be haunted by the hotel pictured above....and the dozens of people that may still be buried in it.

Haiti's estimated death toll -- 230,000 and still climbing.

I pray that Haiti never becomes a distant memory for me.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Real Deal - Encore (by request)


Thanks for the request, Jay. I figure I owe you a few, since you helped talk me away from the delete button when my "post" total hit one hundred. At 100 posts, it seemed to me that I had said all I had to say, but you knew better. Thank you for that.


I spent twenty four hours (round trip) driving to my home town of Minneapolis this weekend. It gave me time to reflect on many things, including my journey to Haiti with Ron. Whenever I return from an international trip, it is always a struggle for me to settle back into a routine...especially if I've seen things that are difficult to look at. I cannot help but see the stark reality between the "haves" and the "have nots".

News flash -- If you are reading this blog, you are a "have".

Haiti has been the biggest contrast I have ever experienced and I cannot stop thinking about it. All of my trips change least incrementally. This time the change is much more than incremental. This weekend, I came to the realization that the difference was not just Haiti -- it was being with Ron...and seeing his heart.

When Ron works he is a one man show. The same is true for me. It's usually me, myself and I.

This time was different. We were working together as a team. And this time 1 + 1 = 3. As a result, I feel meaningful change coming on. And I feel God staring me in the face... and He is wondering which fork in the road I am going to take...


Next post: The Transition (back to my reality)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Real Deal, Finale


Ron is working the phone as we're about to enter one of the most dangerous slums in the world -- City Soleil, Port au Prince.


Yet another thing Ron excels at -- making connections with people.....especially kids.


Three school girls pose with Ron around the corner from our temporary home at Matthew 25 House in Port au Prince. Actually, the girls wanted nothing to do with him until I convinced them that he is Jackie Chan....well, not sure I really convinced them, but we all got a good laugh out of that.

You da man, Jackie!

(Ya'll didn't think I could be serious three days in a row, did ya?)

Love ya, bro.


Monday, July 5, 2010

The Real Deal


I've been away for the past week with my friend and colleague, Ron Sim. Ron is an award-winning cinematographer, photographer and journalist. We were on assignment together in Haiti. For this assignment, he decided to put down his cameras and pick up his pen. And he asked me to pick up my cameras.


We had an incredible week together. There were times when we were in harms way, but I never felt threatened. Ron is 'Special Op's trained' for any conceivable situation.... and he always had my back. As a result, I was able to capture some of the most meaningful images of my career....images that will soon join Ron's words to convey the hope of a nation that has been turned to rubble.


Dude, we laughed together and we cried together.....and there is no place on earth I would have rather been than with you this week. I'll never be able to thank you enough. And one thing I learned about you in no uncertain terms, is that YOU, my friend...

... are the real deal.

God bless you, buddy.