Thursday, March 22, 2012

Innocent Stares

Photo: Kabul, Afghanistan (Click to enlarge)

When I was younger, my dream was to one day film in war zones. At night, I'd read extensively about the Vietnam war, about the men and women of Alpha company landing in hot LZ's (landing zones), and how friends and foes would shed their blood, take a life, lose life. But in the midst of it all were the photographers capturing images that gave meaning to life, the living and the dead. It brought the war closer to home--and even as a child of war, it made it real, and forever changed my perception on the price of freedom. I wanted to become one of them--the men with the lens, the dashingly-cool bunch of guys that pointed glass at the enemy, those who saw the world by frames per second.

In retrospect, my dream has come true. I've lived that dream—saw beauty in darkness, found solace in faith, and witnessed the world unfolding in an utterly profound, yet definitive way. I've seen horror through a lens, witnessed the ground beneath me drown in pools of blood and even held the frigid hands of a dying marine I had never met. In war, I found myself. I found the man in me that I dreamt of as a child. In war, I realized that I am a man not because of my bravery or how I find lust with light, but because in the midst of chaos, I am able to still see eye to eye with those who stare at my lens. I see life, not headlines. I see fear and pain. I see hope.

I'll never forget those innocent stares.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Against All Odds

Photo: Christian David Florres, born with only one leg.
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras

So, I'm guessing you have gone through pages and pages on the internet looking at pictures of celebrities and athletes--wishing you had their looks, their ability to amaze the world. This little boy just wishes for one thing: the chance to live his life.

Do you know what I wish for?

His bravery. His ability to see the world without prejudice or boundaries, determination--and his will to succeed--against all odds.