That’s what brought me to Seattle. About five years ago I was preparing to walk across stage with mortar board atop my head and black gown draped over my shoulders. In a few days I would be graduating from a college nestled in the sleepy foothills of the Adirondacks when I received a phone call that would change my life. That phone call ultimately led to me moving to the Puget Sound for the start of an engineering career.
Until that point I thought I had life figured out. Time at university had some amazing highs and just as many not so great lows. But that’s how it goes, right? Seattle beckoned; Jet City, the Emerald City, whatever you want to call it, the city was my light that shined across the country to lure me in. A lot has happened in five years. I’ve made many friends, lost them too. Love? That’s come and gone. Existential crisis? Not quite, but I sure have learned a lot about myself and where I fit in this world. That’s what your twenties are for, right? Life, that little thing I thought I had all figured out, was just revealing itself to me.
I take it you’re sensing a theme here?
I latched onto photography as my form of creative expression but I started with little to no vision for my work. I began to open my eyes with empathy for humanity as the truths of life were revealed to me. The narrative I wanted to tell took shape. Or perhaps I should say narratives, because I was searching to tell the stories of other people. What were they thinking? What were their stories? What emotions were consuming them?
Never had I thought of being a street photographer, yet I’ve taken to the streets for the past few years. Pike Place Market is my backdrop where narratives converge. I stand at the busiest corner of the market. My camera in one hand but very rarely held to my eye. I can stand there for an hour and not even make a single photograph. Photography becomes secondary. I watch people weave in and out of the crowd. It’s meditative. I find peace in the busiest, most chaotic place in Seattle. Each person I see is incredibly unique, and yet the same as everyone else. In the fleeting moments when I decide to make an image I attempt to interpret my subject’s narrative. They may never know that this is my form of empathy for them. I connect with them in a fraction of a second, just long enough for the camera to absorb light. It’s incredibly powerful, meaningful, and remarkable. Street photography and the people on the street have made me realize that we’re all in life together. I’m just doing my best to understand it and help others do the same.