I've been a photographer my whole life- a humble 23 years.
Some of my first memories are of sitting in my father's darkroom at Georgetown University, watching photos magically appear in-front of my eyes when placed in a tray of mysterious liquid. I was mystified, intrigued and instantly enamored. I received my first camera, a Polaroid, when I was a toddler- the world became my photography playground.
Yet I didn't pick a camera back up until I was about 15, at which point I became the official photographer among my friends group. Birthday parties, high school social events, even just driving around the long country roads we grew up on became my responsibility. Yet I never saw it as a responsibility- I just did it because I couldn't imagine not doing it. I had found my playground once more.
At age 20 I began to turn the globe into my playground. Since 2010, I've climbed ancient stairs in every hemisphere on the planet. I have run on the cobble stone streets through which Jesus walked. I have hiked to the top of 7000 year old ruins, walked through the Holy Lands, witnessed riots over the right to electricity in the world's oldest refugee camps, swam in the reefs of the Pacific, strolled down the avenues of London, biked through the golden fields of the English countryside, sat on top of the world at Machu Picchu, driven a motorcycle through winding mountain roads in Southeast Asia, and sat along firemen in their trucks as they rushed down highways towards houses engulfed in flame in my own city. The one playmate I've had for all these adventures is a reliable hand-me-down camera from my father.
But now it's time to stop playing. With every new face or land I encounter, I realize that I owe my subjects the respect of having their stories told. The drawers of negatives, the terabyte of digital photos, and all the subjects included in them are owed more than the dust I've given them.
Thus, welcome to my playground. I hope you stick around for the next game.