• All About a Boy

    On March 3, 1978, in the only hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I was born into this world kicking and screaming, and my parents often remind me that I haven't changed much since. I choose to take that as a compliment. My kicking and screaming isn't a vulgar retaliation against the injustices of this world that have caused me great suffering and misfortune, for I've lived a truly blessed life. Wonderful parents, wonderful siblings, wonderful friends. I even had a wonderful dog once, but he ran away. And I've had my fair share of wonderful experiences. My kicking and screaming is a celebration of life, a manifestation of the joy I feel for being alive. It's a manic urge to express myself through a number of mediums in loud, bright colors that say "Thank you God for blessing me with so much!" Not to say that I don't paint gloomier themes in darker colors sometimes, as manic urges are just one part of an alternating cycle of highs and lows. I'm sure a graph of my life would alternate erratically back and forth across that central axis that represents "normality", but I can say truthfully that I'm happy the curves of my life have never become lines, especially ones that rest flat on that central axis. I plan to go on kicking and screaming when I can, and when I can't, in those periods of self-reflection and soul-searching that I sometimes desperately crave, I hope to learn how to kick harder and scream louder. Not to lash out, but to be heard. Not to hurt, but to help. To change. And to create.

    That's my deepest desire, my one true driving energy. To create. And a tortuous, sometimes agonizing path it has been to discovering how best to create. It's a path I'll most likely spend my entire life stumbling down, discovering new outlets for my creative urges as I go. I see a lot of Vincent van Gogh in me. Not that I'll ever have his talent (although he'd be the first to argue that talent can be a very subjective thing), or necessarily find that one medium of expression to so faithfully, and painfully, pursue, but I feel that same feverish drive to create at times, and I've seen how it can lead me to both great joy and misery, often simultaneously. And to think I was once an aspiring engineer. Oh, the roads we travel in life. Never knowing the way because we never know the final destination.

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Sichuan Earthquake Recovery

Posted on 07/22/2012

Categories: Asia, China, Film, Photography , Tags: ,

AFD (Agence Française de Développement), known in English as the French Development Agency, is a French international development agency that does a lot of good work in China (as well as in many other countries).  In fact, they were the top foreign donor to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake relief effort.  In commemoration of their work on the earthquake relief efforts, they commissioned a documentary to be filmed in several of the regions in Sichuan where they supplied recovery funds.  As the director of photography for the documentary, I was also responsible for taking photos that would be displayed in exhibitions around China and France about the project (including one at the French Embassy in Beijing that I attended).

One of the most amazing aspects of the project that I had no previous knowledge of was the installation of biogas tanks in rural homes hit hard by the earthquake.  It’s a simple idea really, but very innovative and energy efficient.  Basically a big tank is installed underground, with an opening at ground level for farmers to throw in pig feces, which is available in abundance because most households in these areas raise pigs.  The pig poo is left to decompose and turn into gas in the underground tank, which is then pumped into the farmers’ houses to be used for cooking and heating things.  Sounds a little disgusting at first, but it actually works great and has saved these farmers a lot of money on their gas bills.

The photos below were taken throughout the location scouting and shooting process, and include pictures of people interviewed, people working with us on the project, random people in the towns we visited, and a few photos of some of the areas we visited (including a small city that had left the ruins of the earthquake devastation standing as a living museum and rebuilt the city next door… a great idea in my opinion).  A number of these photos were printed and mounted for AFD exhibitions.

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