I grew up in Chicagoland with three sisters and one brother. The girls (including my mom) all had blue eyes. The boys had brown (dad too).

We lived in the same house, surrounded by the same neighbors, for the first 18 years of my life.  After high school, my parents moved away.

I left for college in an unfamiliar city and state, and became one of 50,000 students at a large public university. I studied journalism and developed insomnia. Then I discovered photography. I’ve been traveling since; still trying to find a way back home somehow.

After 20 years of shooting assignments, I’ve realized that individual photographs don’t really matter so much. Trends come and go, technologies change. Styles that seemed so important last year (or week) may not even register today. More likely, today’s conventional shots are tomorrow’s stock photos: Pretty on the surface… but potentially meaningless and outdated by the time they arrive as junk mail.

So what’s real?

Capturing honest moments that honor the people and places being photographed. Telling human stories that reveal the grace and beauty of real life, without artifice and convention. These are universal ideas, and they are timeless.

My advice: don’t look at the photographs. Rather, listen to the subjects, and validate what’s real. Capture honest pictures that defy convention. Honor the true story.

What’s your story?

Here’s mine:

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I grew up in Chicagoland, studied journalism in Madison, trekked across the Australian outback on a camel, and settled down in the Twin Cities after that.

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