Growing up in Santa Fe, NM I was exposed to many different art forms from a very early age. I started violin lessons when I was 4, performed in La Bohème as a street urchin at the Santa Fe Opera when I was 8, and painted murals on the walls of my elementary school. But it wasn’t until I picked up a camera and learned how to develop my own pictures as an anxious 15-year old that I finally found a way to truly express myself. I fell in love not only with the act of taking and developing photographs, but also with the idea of where the camera could take me. It gave me a purpose to approach and talk to strangers. It inspired me to want to travel and explore foreign places. It helped me become myself.
I have always been drawn to documentary photography, which is visual storytelling at its essence. I love telling stories through a single photo, or creating a photo essay to paint a portrait of a particular person or place. A story is the shortest distance between two people. My camera has helped me bridge this distance.
My other passion is working with young people. To me, documentary storytelling is about social responsibility. Its purpose is to shed light on people and stories that often get overlooked or misunderstood. Many young people can often relate to being marginalized and disenfranchised. I believe in the power of finding one’s voice through the making of media. This is why I became an educator; to help young people find their own voice as well as their purpose in our complex society. Photography and media-making have given me so many opportunities, and as an educator, I help young people find and explore opportunities they never knew existed.