Why do we travel? What loosening of ties are we seeking when we leave what is familiar to encounter what is strange?
Spinning Compass pushes the pause button for a moment on the people hurtling through travel hubs, sits them down and asks them to reflect on the impetus for their flight from the friends, family and faces they usually like to surround themselves with. These revelatory portraits and accompanying short interviews seek to get under the skin of these nomadic subjects and find what itch they are attempting to scratch as they venture forth to somewhere new. Whilst the photography fixes these individuals specifically in the character of the portrait, their words reveal a yearning for re-invention, the liberation of un-skinning their existing identity and conjuring up something new through the chemistry of foreign encounters. In exploring these impulses I tap into a counter-flow of contemporary migration: refugees from themselves their portraits are born outward-bound. Stopping these people on the street, I freeze them in the middle of transit. And like the journey itself, the trajectory between A and B, I establish a transformative destination for the chosen images: once selected, I send the images to an artistic collaborator in India (whom prefers anonymity) who hand watercolors them, adding another layer of creative interpretation to the subject-in-transit. When these prints return to me anew, seeing them for the first time re-interpreted I get a sense of the excitement, surprise and awe that comes when traveling.
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