Oct 03 2020 - Ostia Italy
Isolation and the beach.
Aug 18 2020 - Denver Colorado USA
Three friends rescued hundreds of pounds of crayons from landfills to support young refugee children and their right to creative expression. Check out the Color the Camps project page.
Aug 15 2020 - Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado USA
Colorado wildfires make landscape photography a drag.
Obligatory Golden Gate pic.
Over the past year I've been working with Peak Dental Health, a local dentistry to reach new patients and provide educational resources. I've been broadening my scope of work to include their social media, creating marketing campaigns, photos as well as educational films and mini docs highlighting patient experiences. Having local work is great especially when you're in the middle of editing a documentary, it's also great opportunity to gain some skills that will help when documenting medical services in the field.
Snowy Garden of The Gods.
Celebrating the New Year with familia.
The bare minimum of happiness.
What is it then take all else away
To make pictures and tell stories
Let's start there
Nothing else matters.
Window seat in Osteria Rivamare.
Could watch him chase birds all day.
After 10 years fighting to stay in the US, Imelda's final deportation hearing is tomorrow. Join us tomorrow in solidarity with Imelda and keeping families like hers together.
Protestors march to Aurora Colorado’s private ICE detention facility to demand the closure of concentration camps across the US.
A couple gaze toward Aurora ICE detention center as protestors replace the US, Colorado, and GEO prison flag with a Mexican flag during March to Close the Concentration Camps action.
"Build Bridges, Not Walls" by Lindee Zimmer 2018
Deoksugung palace at night.
Gyeongbok Royal Guard.
Looking for little details.
Fighting three eyed monsters on New Year's Day.
Young photographer capturing New Year's celebrations.
Defying the Universe by Samah Sabawi
Are your loved ones trapped behind the wall
Do they need the army’s permission
For their prayers to reach the sky
For their love to cross the ocean
And touch your thirsty heart
Are your loved ones trapped
Do you yearn to be in your family home
And when you call them
Do they always say
“we are well, alhamdollelah”
Does it surprise you
That they are whole
But you… you are broken
Must they always worry about you
Urge you to have faith in your exile
Must they pity you
For not breathing the air
Of your ancestors’ land
Must they always comfort you
Even when the bombs are falling
Do you ever wonder who is walled in
Is it you, or is it them
And when it finally dawns upon you
That their dignity sets them free
Do you feel ashamed of your liberty
Are your loved ones trapped behind the wall
Do they tell you stories
Of how they survive
The trees they’ve replanted
The homes they’ve rebuilt
Do they assure you life goes on
Old men still fiddle with their prayer beads
Mothers still bake mamoul on eid
Families still gather under the canopies
With loaded bunches of grapes
Dangling above their heads
They nibble on watermelon seeds
They drink meramiah tea
Women perfect the art of match-making
Men talk of freedom and democracy
Children climb on a sycamore tree
Lovers woe in secrecy
And no matter how the conditions are adverse
Do your loved ones defy this universe
Your loved ones defy this universe
Poem originally posted: The Palestine Chronicle
Photo: Children in Aida refugee camp practice launching rocks over the separation wall in the West Bank, February 2016. This particular section of the wall separates the refugee camp from land containing hundreds of olive trees once cultivated by Palestinians. Built 15 years ago with a length of 125 miles the wall has become symbolic of Israel's continued violation of Palestinian human rights by restricting movement, access to resources and land.
Italy is forcing hundreds of migrants into homelessness before the Christmas holiday. The new "Salvini Decree" introduced by Italy's far-right removes humanitarian protection and access to shelter for thousands of asylum seekers living in Italy.
Picking the perfect kiwi in Sicily.
Hello Bear Lake.
A participant in Denver's Rally for the Refugee Caravan holds a sign highlighting one of the many reasons the US is responsible for migrants leaving their home for the US border. Seeking asylum is a basic human right. Until the US removes itself from the business of destroying other countries for political and economic gain it must bear the consequences of its actions.
Fighting for human dignity tonight and a repeal of Denver's inhumane urban camping ban.
I feel my time is growing shorter here in Catania. The strangeness of leaving is that my eyes open wider. I start to see things because I realize these things will soon disappear from my life. Leaving certainly gives a perspective unlike like any other.
B&W felt so right in Venice. Next stop World Press Photo exhibit.
Filming this week for NBC's hit show The Voyager with Josh Garcia. Fun activities included boats, markets, puppet shows and my favorite: climbing Europe's largest active volcano Mt. Etna. I can still smell the sulfur.
Finding simple B&W moments in nature this week.
Brother's Weekly - I've begun corresponding with my brother Glen only through our art. He sends music he's created and I reply with a video using his soundtrack.
"U pisci a mari", the eternal fight between man and fish, performed during the annual festival procession of Saint John the Baptist.
Crashed a Nice honeymoon and brought a drone.
After being stuck for days, a small boat overfull with migrants is picked up in the Mediterranean by a German Navy ship. The ship docks in Catania for disembarkation and police search through what little belongings each migrant holds: a small Quran, a family photo, some with tightly rolled currency and other with what appears to be medicine. They're escorted to buses bound for detention centers far from the city to await their fate. Italian authorities have determined with every disembarkation a crime has been committed and one of these passengers will be singled out (usually male with the strongest smell of petrol) and be charged with trafficking.
A young girl dances to Senegalese drumming during the first public commemoration of Senegal's Independence Day on Catania.
Crowded fish market in the historic downtown of Catania.
Passing by on boat.
BP - Presidente do Conselho Nacional do SESI, João Henrique de Almeida Sousa, visita o Colorado para renovar sua parceria com US-Brazil Connect. US-Brazil Connect cria programas de aprendizado e entendimento cultural entre os EUA e o Brasil.
EN - The president of the National Council of SESI, João Henrique de Almeida Sousa, visits Colorado to renew his partnership with US-Brazil Connect. US-Brazil Connect creates programs for learning and cultural understanding between the USA and Brazil.
Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.
Stop being so afraid. Even the most dreadful thing can bring unexpected results. My life condensed into a couple suitcases. As dreadful as it sounds now as my mind paints these painful pictures, surprising results could emerge. Less to weigh you down, less to distract from creating.
We spend so much of our lives collecting. I created videos to collect more things but it had an inverse effect on my work. I then created less. More to distract you with, more to tend to and more to worry about. It's taken me 33 years to figure out more things aren't the answer. More creation is. This comes by having less. By having just enough. Create moments, art, love, all the intangible things that can't be bought for any sum of money.
More Spectacular Than Ever has been released and will be used by the National Park Service to exhibit in Petrified Forest National Park.
Bangkok by river boat.
Finding myself in Harajuku.
Selfie in Senso-Ji temple Asakusa.
Roma Termini railway station.
Admiring Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
I sleep so much better when it's raining. The best night of sleep I had here was during a big storm that flooded the nearby town. The rain was falling so hard and the thunder shook our walls all through the night.
There's something about the sound of water drops falling that cannot be explained. It clears my mind, it makes the bees inside my mind calm down for a moment. With it comes a clarity so great that I want to jump up and do something with such energy and charisma. There is also a smell and a feeling that comes with the rain. Every drop emits a wave of emotion that I can get trapped in. It's like for a brief moment I am now inside the chaotic mind of the world and not just my own. For a moment I am free of my own thoughts and become part of something greater.
A typical day in Napoli.
Always beautiful sunsets in the south of Italy.
The Ear of Dionysius.
Diving into the sea.
A graveyard of discarded boats once filled with refugees crossing the Mediterranean to the southern tip of Italy.
Feeling the wind on the sea.
Notes From The Camp - While editing continues I thought I'd share with you the day Hisham and I visited Jerusalem. It was a special day for us because it's not often a Palestinian refugee gets permission to visit the capital of their country and the holy site Al Aqsa Mosque.
Despite Jerusalem being only 15 minutes away, it's an intimidating journey which includes crossing the notorious Checkpoint 300 and being searched by soldiers who raid Hisham’s camp almost every night. When we reach the Old City there’s a constant fear of being stopped, detained or shot. Hisham's permission required him to return before 7pm so he had just enough time to pray, share his thoughts and buy chocolates for his sister.
I came to see Ahmad only to find he's left somewhere with his friends. This is what fate has given me for my final day in the camp. I'll return home pack my bags and prepare for the months ahead in the States. I fear the editing process will be more difficult than the filming. It usually is. The heat today consumes everyone's patience. Iman told me two men killed each other last night over a disagreement. All the taxi drivers are on edge. Twice I had to fight getting over charged. Everyone wants a way out of here today.
This is what leaving is like. Tomorrow will be my final day in the camp. I thought this would be an exciting moment but it's not. I've also been sick again for weeks. The conditions here are incredibly hard on the immune system. I've hardly seen Ahmad. He knows I'm leaving and I suspect knowing this builds distance between us.
Perhaps it's only the natural order of things. Eventually the story ends and all that resides is an obscure friendship, a memory of how two people found each other despite language, culture and circumstance.
All the work to get here to this day tomorrow that I am excited yet afraid to meet. The mistakes I've made throughout all this my struggle finding closure for his story, it all doesn't matter now because I can't go back. What must be accepted in this moment is the end of our story because in life there is an ending in all things.
The last two years have given me just as much as it's taken away. I've never quite figured out how to finish a project while I'm still ahead. To do so and in such a place might make me feel guilty. There must be an equal balance of give and take and when there is doubt give more than take.
Notes From The Camp - What is life like in other places? Hisham shows us one of several walls inside his camp acknowledging fellow refugees killed by Israeli Occupation Forces.
Ramadan on Hamra street.
When you're walking by and notice the sunlight hitting her pink nails so perfectly. Snap.
Portrait of a tough guy carrying wires outside the camp.
You're invited to attend a workshop in Shatila refugee camp May 18-21: The Art Of Sharing Stories With The Masses. My goal is to empower refugees in Shatila and surrounding camps to come together create, edit and publish their own stories using the tools they already have.
Coffee with friends.
Notes From The Camp - It's a bittersweet feeling reviewing the latest footage today. Only a few months left before filming ends and still the question remains: how does a story like this end?
Portrait of Faisal, third generation Palestinian refugee from Gaza refugee camp Jordan. Now living and working in Abu Dhabi chasing his dreams.
Dheisheh refugee camp timelapse.
Now entering the Westbank.
Hisham, a third generation Palestinian refugee passes by his 97 year old grandfather, a first generation Palestinian refugee on his way to the gym in Dheisheh refugee camp.
Hisham looks at the now empty land where his family's home passed down through generations once existed. He is the first of his family to see this land in almost 70 years and can only stay a few hours before returning to the camp.
Hello Checkpoint 300.
Welcome to Dheisheh refugee camp.
Ahmad takes a break after a long night of work in his salon.
Ahmad's friends read the UNDP Lebanon article written about him and his new salon.
Naher el Bared refugee camp.
A single candle burns with two handwritten notes underneath: "I'm sorry", "For Aleppo" Thursday morning under the Broken Chair in front of United Nations headquarters.
Milano Centrale railway station built in 1906, its original design by Ulisse Stacchini was modeled after Union Station in Washington DC.
Coro Moro (Black Choir) consists of several refugees who emigrated from African countries to Valli Di Lanzo and now perform traditional folk music in the Piemontese dialect.
Young photographer in Said Gawash refugee camp.
Al Jaleel Palestinian refugee camp.
True love finds a way. Amjad and Noora celebrate their wedding outside Shatila refugee camp.
BBQ with family in Shatila camp.
My favorite picture of Leena.
Notes From The Camp - It's been a busy week. Ahmad successfully opened his salon outside of the camp. Will he be able to stay? Will he be with the woman he loves? Keep following along and we'll find out together. Next week I'm off to Jordan with Color the Camps. There I'll reconnect with everyone in Gaza camp and distribute art supplies to refugee kids. Then it's back to Beirut to continue filming Ahmad's progress.
Messing around after work in front of Abu Fadi's shop.
A Lebanese professor told me the other day Shatila refugee camp was Beirut's Bronx of New York. He’d never been to Shatila or the Bronx but he described it as "a place where delinquents live because they cannot fit into normal society". In response I found this poem by Kiran Rajagopalan:
People should be scared of the Bronx not because it's "The Bronx." They should be scared of its scars For once they are seen they cannot be unseen. They should fear the freeway. They should fear the opened fire hydrants. They should fear the blaring music. They should fear the streetside shrines. They should fear the writing on the walls. For in a city that never stops they tell tales of the unsung and undead.
Photo of mosque in Shatila Refugee camp Lebanon.
Notes From The Camp - Here's a quick update for all of you following along on this journey. I'm currently in Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon filming Ahmad as he attempts to drastically change his life.
Badr taking a short break from work.
Children playing in steets of Tarik El Jdideh.
Badr playing football in Tarik El Jdideh.
This Is The Camp Pre Trailer #2 - Here it is, another peek into what I've been putting my heart and soul into for the last two years living in refugee camps across the Middle East. It's now time to pack bags and return for another year in the lives of these three young men.
Peru Day football match.
Denver before the rain.
Filming this week for the National Park Service for what will become a film about the Petrified Forest National Park. Never imagined this place would have such stunning landscape.
Today is a big day: first time I've ever printed my photos. It feels incredible holding my own images in my hands. These are bound for two interactive exhibits I'm creating. The first is Conflict Speaks at the refugee friendly Spring Cafe in downtown Denver for the Month of April. Another exhibition several blocks away will exhibit images from the three refugee camps I've been documenting in the Middle East at the Queen City Cooperative. Along with a description, every image card has a QR code that can be scanned to hear the refugee's voice or learn more about the situation in the camp.
It's been a little over a month since returning from the Middle East. There's still more filming to do but anxiously wanted to edit and show you This Is The Camp Pre Trailer #1. This will become an independent feature length documentary following the lives of three young men who by fate and circumstance were born into a place where they have no rights as human beings. They come from three vastly different camps in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank while all sharing the same burden of being third generation Palestinian refugees.
Been doing a lot of presentations lately so created this infographic highlighting the population of Palestinian refugees living in camps across the Middle East using available data from UNHCR.
Goat herder passing by at dusk means it's time to go home.
A quiet goodbye to Mahmud and Faisal. All three of us behind smiles, laughter, and shisha wonder what happens next in the stories of our own lives.
Walking home lost tonight I use the Separation Wall as my guide. It's a frightening walk because I hear Israeli soldiers talking and laughing on the other side. If you continue with the wall on your right you'll eventually reach Aida refugee camp. On the way you might encounter a series of stories written by women and youth known as the "Wall Museum". Here is my favorite story called The Pigeon written by Jennifer, Jumana, Rasha and Nisreen, 16 years:
There was a little boy who was holding his toy, a pigeon. While he was playing he had a dream. He dreamed about another world where he could talk about his toys and hobbies, his interests and his dreams, instead of talking about guns, blood and killing. A world where he could run and play with his friends. In that world was no war, no tanks, no rockets, and no shelling and bombing. A world full of peace. A bullet, an evil bullet came like a thief and entered his heart. It took his soul and his dream away. His pigeon was beside him, right there next to his motionless body. But the pigeon remembered the boy's dream, and came to life and flew away. It decided to tell his dream to the world. And it decided to make this dream come true.
Fun day filming Hisham film actors dressed in traditional Palestinian garb as part of a media project.
Taking cover from Israeli fire in Aida refugee camp.
“They left but we stayed and the land is still for us” Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah, 13 years old was shot and killed October 15, 2015 after a .22 caliber rifle bullet fired from an Israeli Defense Force sniper entered his chest in Aida Palestinian refugee camp. This is a mural of Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah in Aida Palestinian refugee camp.
Finding my way into Palestine today.
On the DeathbedGo, rest your head on a pillow, leave me alone;
leave me ruined, exhausted from the journey of this night,
writhing in a wave of passion till the dawn.
Either stay and be forgiving,
or, if you like, be cruel and leave.
Flee from me, away from trouble;
take the path of safety, far from this danger.
We have crept into this corner of grief,
turning the water wheel with a flow of tears.
While a tyrant with a heart of flint slays,
and no one says, "Prepare to pay the blood money."
Faith in the king comes easily in lovely times,
but be faithful now and endure, pale lover.
No cure exists for this pain but to die,
So why should I say, "Cure this pain"?
In a dream last night I saw
an ancient one in the garden of love,
beckoning with his hand, saying, "Come here."
On this path, Love is the emerald,
the beautiful green that wards off dragonsnough, I am losing myself.
If you are a man of learning,
read something classic,
a history of the human struggle
and don't settle for mediocre verse.
Kulliyat-i-Shams 2039, Rumi.
Welding metal beams to prevent roofs from collapsing due to the heavy rain in Gaza refugee camp.
Portrait of Muhammad in Gaza camp.
Filming Faisal in cold Gaza camp.
Portrait of Fasial in his room.
Carrying all my belongings to Faisal's home to spend the next couple weeks documenting his life. I've come to learn when you do something you really care about nothing else matters. The recognition, the adversity, the money or lack of, you're just trying to do something with all your effort into that. Nothing else matters. It's an interesting place to be in.
Unfortunately I've never been able to stay in this place for very long. Paid work to make ends meet, obligations to friends and family all catch up eventually. I continue to have faith though that if I keep doing what I'm passionate about then maybe everyone will get it eventually and then maybe everything will eventually be okay. The people that don't believe in me and the people who are trying to destroy my work (especially with Palestinians) are not worth fighting with because even that takes me away from what I'm doing. And I finally love what I'm doing. Just want to keep moving along. Keep creating and making images happen.
A. Hamadi, one of the few that survived the Shatila Massacre shows me patched holes in the ceiling of his house once made by mortar rounds in Shatila refugee camp.
Refugees from two different countries and now best friends. Both too shy to talk but still curious why an American is always in this shop in Shatila refugee camp.
Shatila refugee camp at night.
Main avenue of Shatila refugee camp at night.
Thank you Ruba for pulling me out of the darkness and into the south of Lebanon with Ismail. Beautiful views and a private table because she convinced the restaurant I was a famous movie director.
Attacked by dangerous Palestinians today.
Cleaning a lens with the help of some new friends.
Youth begin their weekly protest in Al Baqa'a refugee camp to end the occupation of Palestine and honor those killed in the struggle.
Built in 1968 to house Palestinians who fled the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Al Baqa'a is home to over 100,000 UN registered refugees and is Jordan's largest refugee camp. It's also where I'm spending Thanksgiving this year.
“He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy. He simply woke, looked out the open door at the moon and unrolled his trousers and put them on.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.
I am learning how to trust a man by looking into his eyes. I understand his voice even when I don't understand his language. I've put my life in his hands. Embraced my fate and the universe and it has embraced me back.
Indecision with Elisa.
Olives in Sabra market, entryway to Shatila refugee camp.
Playing dominos with Walid and drinking ice cold karkadeh until the early morning. Also that time he lost and told a random kid to bite me.
Portait of a young artist holding a crayon.
Can I remove all the unnecessary? I want to remove everything between my image and the story it is supposed to tell. To simplify not only my work but my life to the barest details so those details become immediately seen. Can you forget everything else? Perhaps that's what could bring me the happiness I need right now. The relief I need right now. Taken out all the extra and keep only what is needed.
Rain begins to fall while driving.
Fruit vendor taking a break.
Talaat Harb Square at night.
Eating on the go.
Incense burner walking the streets.
Welcome to Cairo.
There are too many questions I don't think I can answer. Tonight your eyes are the ocean and my heart is drifting on the lines of your body. Do we really know what love is? When I look at you do I see love? Yes, but what is love? Love was all along. Love wasn't a discovery or a hidden treasure I found in you, it was just there and felt the moment our eyes met. Why do we hide what is true? Why do we guard and protect a simple word that covers us like the air we breath? I love you it's simple. I want to tell you but I don't. I love you like I love many things. You are one of those many things.
My favorite image of Rich. The man who taught me so much about filmmaking and life.
Film. Sleep. Repeat.
A Journey Through Their Eyes - Premired at the Posner Center to a large crowd of supporters for the Youth Ambassador program offered by local non-profit Meet The Middle East. The Youth Ambassador program takes American high school students to Israel and Palestine for ten days after completing a six month educational program that includes religions of the region, methods of conflict resolution and a service learning project. This film documents their journey and will be featured on their homepage to engage those interested in the program.
Hello again Aspen Film Festival.
In search of symmetry today.
First time camping obligatory pics.
I look up and see life in these old limbs.
I'm not here to tell you what you already know. We are blind to the paths that lead us here just like the prisons we build within our heart that keep us from exploring. I never sought justice or truth from a path, never gazed at it long enough to see its curves and direction. It was a path and a path was all I asked.
When it all goes, when it all escapes, what do we have left? Is there a soul? Is there a right, a wrong, a limbo of sorts for those whose lives haven't met societies expectations? I feel the frost in my fingertips but clench harder into the back of the truck. My other hand holding a camera close to my heart. It's the only thing I have for now as the morning sun fills the faces and dark undertones of the village.
First day off in a month and what do I do? Look at creepy bones in the basement of Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacumbas.
My first thought was cute, my second thought was those customs forms they hand you in the plane asking if you've been around livestock.
Stuck for hours in rush hour traffic with a 85mm. What to do?
Obligatory Machu Picchu pic.
12,549 ft above the sea.
Making new friends.
Protest in Arequipa main square.
Enjoying June in Denver for the first time in 7 years.
Activists destory a Confederate flag in front of the State Capitol as the Nation engages in a struggle to remove monuments commemorating its racist past.
Jun 16 2015 - Palestine
Filming/photographing a group of high school students in Palestine for an upcoming project: A Journey Through Their Eyes. I've been documenting these students off an on in Denver for the past year as they learn about conflict resolution, religion and geography of the region thanks to a local non profit, now they get to visit and experience it for themselves.
Premiered at Green Spaces, The Value of Walking Together captures Walk2Connect's mission to create whole health outcomes through innovative walking programs focused on connection to others, to place and self. The film will be used to launch their Kickstarter campaign and later more broadly for fundraising and as a welcome video for their homepage.
Editing the Value of Walking Together.
Downtown before a storm.
Walking and connecting for the next couple weeks. After months of preparation I'm now filming for Walk2Connect, a local organization building a more human and connected world through organized community walks. The film will premiere in June and be used to drive contributions to what I expect to be a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
EN - Courage To Learn New Things - My third year making films for US-Brazil Connect NGO and Brazilian Partner SESI/SENAI. Their summer program brings American college students to Brazil to teach high school students english. Instead of focusing on an American perspective (first year) or filming short pieces in all program 10+ locations (second year), I opted to stay in one place for the entire month and focus on the journey from the perspective of a single Brazilian student: Silmara as she makes her way through the program overcoming her fears, learning english and building life long friendships.
PT - Courage To Learn New Things - Meu terceiro ano fazendo filmes para a US-Brazil Connect e o parceiro brasileiro SESI / SENAI. O programa de verão leva estudantes universitários americanos ao Brasil para ensinar inglês aos alunos do ensino médio. Em vez de focar na perspectiva americana (primeiro ano) ou filmar peças curtas em todos os programas com mais de 10 locais (segundo ano), optei por ficar em um lugar durante o mês inteiro e focar na jornada da perspectiva de um único estudante brasileiro : Silmara enquanto segue seu programa superando seus medos, aprendendo inglês e construindo amizades duradouras.
Passed while riding my bike and appreciated how she held the cigarette in her mouth.
Missing Maceió while editing US-Brazil Connect footage.
EN - A group of Brazilian students came to Colorado to explore both educational and career opportunities with the support of Colorado School of Mines, The Brazil Institute, US-Brazil Connect and the Alcoa Foundation.
BP - Um grupo de estudantes brasileiros veio ao Colorado para explorar oportunidades educacionais e de carreira com o apoio da Escola de Minas do Colorado, Instituto Brasil, US-Brazil Connect e Fundação Alcoa.
Happy Lisa and Mark brought me onboard to help with cinematography for their feature doc bringing to light the complex issues of eating disorders such as anorexia. Here's highlights of today's reenactments that will accompany interviews from survivors and medical professionals.
Had a blast photographing/filming students from northern Brazil get the full American experience and winter. Courtesy of Jackson Community College.
Detroit against the world.
Silmara experiences snow falling for the first time.
Denver Animal Shelter
I was lost that day. Ducking into a dark underpass below a crowded highway, my eyes adjusted from a bucket of white paint up to eclectic characters looming to fill the height of the tunnel. Sounds of muffled traffic rumbled above as I watched these figures quietly come to life below.
Lines, hundreds of them unique in form all held in harmony with a single vision. This is Santurce, Puerto Rico during the height of an artistic revolution where a new generation was finding its voice and expressing it in ways never seen before. Underpasses like these were ever-changing with new images and stories to tell.
These characters, like art, reflect a constantly evolving amalgamation of ideas, one creative vision told through hundreds of seemingly unrelated pieces. Art is not in a can of paint but rather a series of meticulously placed brush strokes that, when combined, can create giants.
Spending Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico helping a friend find home while working on a new project.
Received a special invitation and brought along a camera to see local artist Molina Speaks host a día de los muertos themed poetry burning party in the basement of Gypsy Cafe.
Fighting to end police brutality in front of the Colorado State Capitol Building.
Angus and Julia Stone at the Gothic.
Garden of the Gods at night.
Riding through falling leaves tonight makes me smile.
We Don’t Waste is an innovative provider of food for the hungry. They collect unused food from venues, caterers, restaurants and distribute the food to Denver’s underserved populations providing wholesome, nutritional and varied “restaurant-grade” meals, along with personal hygiene items.
EN - The Meaning of Joy (click CC button in video for subtitles) - Ação Mineira para a Educação (AME) is a Brazilian NGO established in 2002 with the mission to educate and promote a better quality of life for socially vulnerable groups. Their current project “All for All – education beyond school” provides workshops in sports, culture, technology and health for all age groups. The Meaning of Joy showcases the intimate relationship of the program with those who have been impacted through it and is featured on the organization’s website.
BP - O Significado da Alegria - A Ação Mineira para a Educação (AME) é uma ONG brasileira criada em 2002 com a missão de educar e promover uma melhor qualidade de vida para grupos socialmente vulneráveis. Seu projeto atual “Todos para Todos - educação além da escola” oferece oficinas de esportes, cultura, tecnologia e saúde para todas as faixas etárias. O Significado da Alegria mostra o relacionamento íntimo do programa com aqueles que foram impactados por ele e é apresentado no site da organização.
Another month filming in Brazil. Camera one is already dead, hopefully camera two is as weather resistant as Andre.
EN - American coaches prepare for their upcoming trip to Brazil where they will teach english and mentor Brazilian high school students in cities across the country. This film for local NGO US-Brazil Connect focuses on what it means to connect with other cultures and students.
BP - Os treinadores americanos se preparam para a sua próxima viagem ao Brasil, onde ensinarão inglês e orientarão estudantes brasileiros do ensino médio em cidades do país. Este filme para a ONG local US-Brazil Connect foca no que significa se conectar com outras culturas e estudantes.
Find your fascination, find what you are drawn to, what emotionally grabs you. Listen to an idea and you will hear a small heart beat that will begin as a whisper. Keep listening until it can no longer be ignored.
Story allows something very unique when shared. We feel a connection. We see similarieties we see commonality and for a moment we share something with someone we really know nothing about.
Another lecture today! This time for a documentary class at University of Colorado Boulder. I'll be sharing some of the work I've done along with a few lessons learned along the way.
Mexico came and went in a flash.
Exploring the Yucatán Peninsula.
My name is Alejandro Gomez-Meade and I’m a filmmaker.
It feels really weird to saying this you because I was never meant to be a filmmaker. Weird because just 3 years ago I was sitting in a seat just like yours one floor below in the economics department.
How did I get here?
I remember looking at this map. Really, it's all I had to begin this journey, a map and a feeling. I often looked at it on my laptop during those miserable lectures required for an international business degree. I felt something looking at this map and I knew feeling something was always a good start.
Gave a lecture today at my alma mater University of Denver titled: The Power of Personal Story. Included was my own personal story to becoming a filmmaker as well as history and mechanics of powerful storytelling. Whew, never realized how much work goes into giving a lecture.
Helping a local artist kickstart Denver's first non-profit record label: Rainless Records.
EN - My Dream (click CC button in video for subtitles) - US-Brazil Connect and the Brazilian Confederation of Industry have partnered to bring college students and young professionals from the United States together with high school students throughout Brazil. The program offers multicultural learning, leadership, and friendships that will last a lifetime. My Dream captures the experiences Brazilian students had throughout the program with their American Fellows. The film was created over the course of one month in 8 cities across Brazil and premiered at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for Denver mayor Michael Hancock on Brazil Day.
BP - My Dream (clique no botão CC no vídeo para legendas) - A US-Brazil Connect e a Confederação Brasileira da Indústria fizeram parceria para reunir estudantes universitários e jovens profissionais dos Estados Unidos, juntamente com estudantes do ensino médio em todo o Brasil. O programa oferece aprendizado multicultural, liderança e amizades que durarão a vida inteira. My Dream captura as experiências que os estudantes brasileiros tiveram ao longo do programa com seus bolsistas americanos. O filme foi criado ao longo de um mês em 8 cidades do Brasil e estreou no Museu de Natureza e Ciência de Denver pelo prefeito de Denver, Michael Hancock, no Dia do Brasil.
EN - President of the National Confederation of Industry Brazil Robson Andrade visits Colorado.
BP - Presidente do Confederação Nacional da Indústria Brasil Robson Andrade visita o Colorado.
Matt and Kelly wanted a doc (not wedding) filmmaker to capture their unique block party wedding. I was told no staging, no prep, no indications of my presence, only filming the moments as they unfold. It was a difficult task but it allowed me to throw away the perfection most wedding videographers go for and focus more on the authenticity that drives all my work . For Matt and Kelly it also had the benefit of allowing them to be present on their special day and enjoy it without interruption.
Getting a little cold here in city 6 of 8 during a month long tour across Brazil capturing magical moments between American and Brazilian students for NGO US-Brazil Connect.
The greatest achievement is to live your life for someone else. It could be a dog, a child or the people watching your films. Give them something. Feel their happiness and pain. A selfless life is one to have.
Taken last night inside one of the longest traffic tunnels in Brazil. What you see is children running free inside during rush hour when it should be filled with cars. Why is it empty? On July 14 2013 a 43 year old bricklayer named Amarildo was profiled and taken from Rochinha favela to a police station for "questioning" and then never seen again. Last night hundreds of other people came together as a community and hit the streets united and unafraid to ask "Where is Amarildo?".
Dividing Copacabana from Ipanema.
Invited to a friend's concert, naturally I brought along my camera. Here's Shelter Undone by Indigenous Robot.
Sometimes we get nothing but our hearts and that's what we have to follow. Sometimes it all falls down and we're stuck but listen to your heart follow it take comfort in it and move forward. When there's nothing left for us to have this will be it.
Vamos para brasil! - After a successful first year bringing community college students to Brazil for an innovative study abroad program, US-Brazil Connect prepares fellows for the new summer ahead.
Timelapse of Zaid.
A short glimpse into George’s life as a watch repairman.
A short glimpse into Robert’s life as a janitor.
Welcome to Colorado’s first Brazilian bakery, crafting delicious pastries and cakes using recipes passed down through generations of the Santos family.
Zaid a reggae loving Saudi graffiti artist shares what drives his passion.
Delightful People - A little film I made for an assignment in Cinematography 101.
An experimental film I made about missing children with the talented Henry Johnson Jr.
Connect - Following a group of American community college students who participate in an innovative study abroad program teaching Brazilian high school students english. Community colleges make up roughly 45% of the higher education population in the US yet only 3% of these students ever get a chance to study abroad. US-Brazil Connect offers a free program for community college students that brings students to Brazil. The program is not your typical study abroad, it's a mutual exchange that encourages students to take on new challenges, overcome fears and build relationships that last a lifetime.
Last entry in Bahia production notebook: Now I return to normal. Now I'm no longer lost in a foreign culture and language. What I carry with me in these bags is hope. Hope that what I've learned and become in the past 40 days will make me better understand humanity. Hope that what I've learned will make me less afraid to look destiny in the eyes. This notebook like all others is a witness to this process yet I have no answers or wisdom for you. You have only to read the pages of today, not the chapters of the past. Life is for the living, feeling and becoming.
BP - Um projeto sobre as vozes e experiências de artistas que vivem e trabalham na Cidade de Deus.
EN - A project about the voices and experiences of artists living and working in City of God.
Had fun making this for one of my favorite local coffee shops Kaladi Coffee Roasters.
Was asked to put together some tips and offer a little encouragement to students who will need to create a how-to video for their final project in the program.
In beautiful Bahia for the next month filming Connect, a film documenting an innovative new exchange program that pairs American community college students with high school students to learn English and bridge both countries.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Denver.
One from a series of info videos for CMH Heli-Skiing.
Brazil. The craziness, the change. This country is at a tipping point. Prices are rising and the line dividing rich from poor widens. I too am at a defining moment of my life.
I wonder what will be next. What the consequences of my next moves will be. This is my very own tipping point. Will it happen now or will I hide away in these shadows a little longer? If I am afraid but must embrace the risk regardless of how dangerous.
There are people out there doing far better with less. I must prove myself.
Tallest favela in Rio, Dona Marta.
Photos of a school field trip.
An early morning tour of the largest fish market in the world.
We don't know who we are sometimes. We don't know what we do. I have a collection of memories. A collection of moments. I see people repeating their same stories and I wonder do I do too?
I have a collection of memories a collection of moments. I play them back and rewind them in my head. I watch them as the pass and go. Another time another moment. I have but a collection but I wonder if it is something I should hold. I should be proud I survived another day. Another day alive. Another day the rent is paid and there's food in my mouth. Maybe these are the only things that matter and the moments and memories should be left behind to replay in another time. Maybe what matters is what changed from these things not the thing itself.
Study abroad begins in my second home Tokyo.
My solo adventure to Brazil begins.
A small team and I have traveled to New Orleans to restore thousands of priceless photographs damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I'm writing this on location in St Bernard inside what was once a government building, now in ruins. With the help of a few contractors and hp we have restored the internet connection in this building for the first time in 6 months. It’s hard to believe this very location was sitting under 14ft of water just a couple months ago.
Yesterday we began the photo restoration process and over 100 people from the community showed up. Some people waited in line over an hour and long past sundown for a chance to preserve some of their photos. The day was filled with tears, laughter and King's Cake. Many of the photos were unsalvageable but the ability to hear a story, give a hug and offer a little help was far more valuable in my opinion then the task we were set out to do.
After a long night we were able to upload 300+ photos for hp volunteers around the world to restore. It’s amazing to see how many people are taking action within hp to make a difference. I enjoyed telling people that there are 350 employees within hp that volunteered to restore their photos to the best possible condition. I cant wait for the photo reveal tomorrow.
Tomorrow we give back some of the memories that were tragically lost. Wedding pictures, baby pictures, pictures of sons and daughters all destroyed in this hurricane. The presence here is warm, I have never met so many kind people who would gladly take me into their home or share their story. I saw old ladies that reminded me of my grandmother. I saw my parents, trying to save pictures of their kid's first visit to Disney World. There is so much heart in this community and it’s difficult to imagine the circumstances they’ve had to live through these past months. Many still without homes and jobs.
I am at a loss of words when I venture into what used to be such a cultural and vibrant city. It’s difficult to realize this damage occurred several months ago. There is still so much around us destroyed and it feels and looks like Katrina could have happened yesterday. I see a sense of disappointment that lingers among my team. Why can’t we do more? We are so, so very far away from recovery? I am disappointed people actually believed New Orleans was ok and functioning. I am disappointed in myself for being among one of those people.
Too many parts of town are without electricity and running water. There is disease and what is now called Katrina Cough. People are forced to live in small trailers and share an outhouse. Some are forced to public parks and tents. I see parts of town where children would play and small business would profit but now see an abandoned ghost town.
I know there is a story and emotion to feel here. Too difficult to describe but still so very true and real. I'm glad we've taken on this endeavor and heard these stories. I will carry them with me and share them. This week we have given back irreplaceable memories.
Art - Stories - Inspiration