Nepal and Mongolia Vaccination Projects for Johns Hopkins This year, my dream assignment from Johns Hopkins continued with trips to Nepal and Mongolia with filmmaker Emily Kinskey and Hopkins’ Katie Gorham. It’s so rare to work with such a competent, caring, all-female team – I can’t emphasize how restorative the experience was as a freelancer. It was an incredible privilege to document the work of badass female medical professionals to protect the health of vulnerable families across their countries, and of the resilient families who have had their worlds overturned by a medical crisis.
Nepal and Mongolia Vaccination Projects for Johns Hopkins
After first covering the Tiger Temple story for various publications in 2016, I began a long term personal project on the larger state of Thailand’s tiger tourism industry. Dozens of legal tiger zoos across Thailand offer disturbing opportunities for tourist interaction at the expense of the tigers’ welfare. While the world was fixated on the Tiger Temple, the wider context of what is legally and socially accepted in Thailand felt at the heart of what drives this issue. This ongoing body of work was published as news leaked that 86 – over half - of the original Temple tigers had died in the government facilities after being removed in 2016. From that day, those close to the story knew that they were ill-prepared for taking care of nearly 150 tigers, however, this was worse than we expected. It’s painful proof that symbolizes the ongoing concern of how Thailand values its tigers.
Dr. Jacques Leider stands for a portrait in Bangkok, Thailand.
I had my very first assignment for the Smithsonian Magazine to take portraits of Rakhine history expert Dr. Jacques Leider, and with one directive - Make it lush:
FEI Asian Championships Pattaya I worked with the wonderful Asiaworks team to cover the first-ever FEI Asian Championships in Pattaya. It was a massive effort to put world-class equestrian sports on the map regionally, and a first for me covering a sport so extensively:
Thai Cave Rescue Anniversary
For the one year anniversary of the Thai Cave rescue, I visited the Tham Luang caves with Hannah Ellis Petersen for the Guardian’s coverage of how the area has transformed one year after the international efforts to save 12 boys and their coach.
Dove x #ShowMe I photographed two incredible women, Sia and April, for Dove's #showme campaign. This effort was in partnership with Getty Images to expand the representation and definition of beauty amongst Thai women in stock images.
Airbnb x Thailand This year Airbnb invited me to document some of the animal experiences offered in Thailand, including a gibbon rehab center and an educational whale watching excursion.
Personal work on the Philippines Drug War
In August, with the support of the IWMF, I returned to the Philippines for the second segment of my personal project to document the stories of women and children impacted by the ongoing Drug War alongside writer Ana Santos. While it’s been an uphill battle to pitch international stories like this in a time when most attention is focused on US and UK politics, we’ll continue to try and find it the home that these incredible, resilient women’s stories deserve.
Pennsylvania State Dept of Aging I was so honored to shoot for my home state's Dept of Aging again this year, traveling to various community centers to build an archive of the folks and activities that enrich the lives of Pennsylvania seniors.
I have had to spend more time in the US for the production of my doc, which has afforded me more quality time with the ones I love the most.
While it’s important for me on a personal level to stay low key about the production of my first feature doc, this year was a huge turning point on many fronts after six years of what can sometimes feel like pulling a train by my teeth. In June, I won the Whickers pitch at Sheffield Film Festival in June (overcoming a crippling amount of stage fright), and was one of 44 films accepted into the IDFA Forum in Amsterdam in November. My team has also expanded to include the collaboration of creative brains Charlie Tyrell and Josef Beeby (My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes, Broken Orchestra), original music by the incredible Dan Deacon (what?!), and the production support of the wonderful Ark Media team in Brooklyn. The whirlwind experience of entering the doc film world from freelance photography has been transformative (and shocking), and I’m learning how much I love a more collaborative process.
Making a film is a many-year marathon, and I'm taking one baby step at a time. Stay tuned for 2021!
Looking back on 2019
Dec 31, 2019
This year I decided to switch things up from the usual recommendations to sharing some of the work I've created in 2019. It's been an enormously challenging and rewarding year between my film and photo work -self care, patience, and balance has never more important on all fronts. I'm happy to share some of the highlights from the year.