There came a time when I realized, this is fine. My experiences are not defined by another’s ability to understand them. That doesn’t keep that need-to-share feeling from existing, but it does create a reverence for that which Ialready share with new friends and new lands. It’s become a passion of mine to create that connection between what was experienced and what is shared as I work as a photographer.
In January, I went with a group of people to Thailand to visit The Sold Project and their partners. I was asked to photograph what I saw and share the stories. I’ve learned to approach work like this with open hands and an open heart. I love being able to to enter into the spaces in which people are already moving and just serve as a witness and documentarian. It’s a humbling place to start from the a position that is acknowledging that I have nothing to offer but a posture that asks, “What can I learn?” And luckily, that’s all The Sold Project asked of us.
Thailand moved me.
It moved me because the people are beautiful. They are beautiful despite the complexity of their culture, and they are beautiful because of that complexity. We watched Cat, SOLD’s first sponsored child, present her life’s story to us like she had been speaking in front of people her whole life.
It moved me because it opened my eyes. The scenes weren’t new. I’d seen them in movies and read about them in Time Magazine. But seeing a world like that firsthand—a world so void of hope—is transformative. It shows us the importance of the work SOLD is doing, and forces us to remember: prevention is hard, but prevention is working.