“He wondered what the map would look like of all the steps he had taken in his life and what word it would spell.” – Paul Auster
My first visit to a third world country was fourteen years ago, to Nepal in 1998. I spent six months in South East Asia on that journey and it was then, I was introduced to the culture of travel. What amazed me is the huge subculture that it is, once you know about it, it is as if a whole new community opens up filled with possibility. People choose to travel for diverse reasons. Travelers are a melting pot of humanity. We travel to learn, to relax, to celebrate, to feel alive, for business, to gain compassion, and many of us travel to experience a different way of life. Traveling and fantasizing about travel is like a dream. Yet one that is attainable. This project is an exploration of the people that take part in this way of life. Whether it be for a week, a month, or years, travelers step outside of what is considered the norm of day to day.
‘Spinning Compass’ is a photography project exploring this community of travelers. All of portraits were taken while both myself and each participant was traveling. I setup the same backdrop on the side of the street in each city, in a popular tourist destination. Along with taking their photograph, each sitter receives a questionnaire with twelve questions. These questions range from the very basic to much deeper probing into the nature of what we carry with us both mentally and physically when we travel. After editing, I make custom prints on a fine art water -color paper. The prints are then hand painted by a very talented artist in Udaipur, India. ‘Spinning Compass’ was a long-term photography project.
Each individual face out of the over 500 people I have photographed in 9 locations worldwide, including Nepal, Turkey, Israel, India, Maui, Mexico City, New Orleans, Burning Man and Berlin represent an element of what I seek to investigate. Which partly is – why we judge one another so harshly and whether through traveling we let our guard down with each individual encounter to allow a little more room for that which is unknown to us.
Documentary, Portraits, Travel