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I met George Pitts because he was looking for someone to drive him from New York to D.C. and to assist him on a shoot. We were connected through a mutual friend and George was a photographer whom I greatly admired. As a new photographer at the time, when I heard of this opportunity I (almost) literally dove at the chance to assist him. George was a 'real deal' New Yorker in that he didn't have a driver's license. Lucky for me, because it meant that I was going to get to spend a good amount of time one-on-one with George. What was most striking about George was his curiosity. As we drove towards D.C., knowing that I was traveling with someone who was not only a master of his craft and a widely published photographer but someone who also happened to be a founding member at Vibe Magazine, Photo Editor at LIFE Magazine and a Professor at the Parsons School of Design (to list just part of his resume) was not lost on me. And there I was - a young photographer with a limited body of work who had barely been at it a year. However the questions George peppered me with about my background, my work, what I thought about photography, and what I hoped to achieve never seemed to stop. He was genuinely curious about me. This was the greatest gift I was given from George. The gift of curiosity. I remind myself regularly in my work to be genuinely curious. Not judgmental, but curious. To ask questions with the intent to understand and sympathize. I believe this is one of the keys that can unlock the door of compassion. For me the belief that: If the photographer cares for the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument. Those are not my words, they are borrowed from another great photographer named Eve Arnold. I borrow them because Eve has done a better job expressing, in words, my approach to photography and, for that matter, life in general: Compassion for my collaborators.
While curiosity was the greatest gift George gave me, there was another. George worked purely in the medium of film. He didn't have a digital camera. On most of his shoots, he had a Twin Lens Reflex Medium Format Film Camera and a Polaroid 600SE Instant Film Camera. This was how many of the greatest photographers that ever lived worked. They would first take a test shot with the Polaroid to make sure everything looked good and then they'd grab the film camera and shoot it on regular film that had to be developed at a lab afterward. I started as a digital photographer and George was taking me back in time. I noticed something though; there was a human-ness, for lack of better word, to his subject on the Polaroids than I'd ever seen on digital. To this day, I'm not quite sure why or how. To understand the chemistry behind it is one thing, but there was just something intangible and beautiful. The subject looked more like a human being and less like a photograph. I immediately fell in love with the film images I saw and as soon as we got back from D.C. I hopped on eBay and found my own Polaroid Camera.
It's been 9 years since that trip and I continue to have the opportunity to create in this medium. This work is as much a part of me has anything else you'll see on my site. I've struggled with whether or not to include these photos on my site. I know that, for some, nudity is considered offensive. I also know that displaying this work might even prevent some of you from working with me because of your own personal views. I respect that and want to say thank you for taking the time to stop by and view my work regardless. I don't take that for granted and want to give it the acknowledgement that you deserve. The reason why I have decided to share this work on my site is that a large part of my job is helping people show up fully and without apology. To feel free enough to not edit a part of their personality that they might deem not fit for public consumption. I believe that if what we share with the world always comes from a place of compassion for others and ourselves, it will always be worth sharing. I hope that sharing these photos will allow you to see me and my work more fully.