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Come As You Are


Tell me what you think. Tell me how you relate to the world. Don’t mince words. Life is too short and too dangerous for that. By dangerous I don’t mean deadly. We live in a time of hyperbole and outright lies. Not everything is as it seems. But this is not the era of falsehoods it is the era of truth. Those who are honest, and real, and vulnerable, are the true leaders we look to, we must look to, to save us from ourselves.


In my photographs I seek the truth. It’s that simple. I want to see people as they really are. All I ask is that you come as you are and embody your authentic self. Can you look in the mirror and love what you see? Can you look at all the other faces around you and feel the same? I’m not talking about your family and friends. They are easy to love. What about the person in front of you at the stop sign? What about the woman ahead of you on line?


That’s my approach to this. That’s my technique. We both show up honestly and recognize ourselves in the other. And that’s what occurred between Marshall and I. I spent about an hour taking his picture in the most sacred place I could think of. He was a stranger to me but I took him to my favorite place because I knew that the location itself would contribute to our connection. And it did. From that afternoon I selected nine photographs to represent his story.


That was two years ago. We don’t keep in touch, Marshall and I, although I have him as a friend on Facebook. We didn’t become the kind of friends that stayed in each other’s lives. But, we did become friends, I think. And I did come to understand who he is a little. And I did create sort of a story about him that lives online to this day. That was really all I hoped for. He didn’t ask me for this, I asked him. Because I wanted to see if this idea of mine would work. Could I convey the essence of a person in words and photographs? I think the answer is yes.


I’ve done this several times with different people since but now I want to do it again. And I think the timing is right. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I worked with Marshall Guttenberg. Obama was president. I was a different man myself. And the mission wasn’t as clear. We show up as who we are, warts and all, and stare into the camera unabashedly. Because it’s not the camera you’re looking at. It’s the world.


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