We all live in a world surrounded by stories. You don’t have to be a fan of movies or television to see it. And it goes further than what we do to entertain ourselves. Stories are in our holidays. They’re in our churches. Without stories, history itself is just dates and figures.
Culture and community is built on our stories. Our collective experience defines us, tells people who we are. Each of us has a unique perspective which cannot be duplicated. The context of each individual is different, and every time a person’s story is told and understood, our society moves and changes, nudged into different shapes and positions. If it isn’t moved by it’s members, it is a collection of the successes, mistakes, victories, and atrocities of those who came before us.
If we want to continue and to grow, to learn from our forebears, and to help the generations which will follow us, we must contribute our stories. It may seem like you or me or our neighbor down the street are just insignificant on our own, but each new perspective, each new piece of context, pushes us all forward.
This is why I style myself as a storyteller. Everything in my life has been about story. Sometimes it has come in the form of music, sometimes in writing. Right now, I tell stories through the camera lens. These stories might not have big plot lines or act structures, but what I do try to give them is the power of the perspective and context which is what I find to be the real lifeblood, not only of stories, but of communities as a whole. It’s about finding understanding with others, and that one aspect is more important than finding agreement. I am not always going to like another person’s views, and people aren’t always going to like mine, and that’s fine. That just means that some individuality is being cultivated and maintained. And without those independent voices making themselves heard and understood, all we have is echoes.
Helping people tell their stories is more than a mission statement. It’s a mandate. It demands of me to make images to make people’s stories have the impact on society that they deserve, no matter how small. Because we as a people have to strive to become more than what we are now.