Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

#TeamRefugees
Nepal Quake + 1
2015 - A year in photos
Europe welcomes refugees
Pilgrimage to Hiroshima & Nagasaki
South Sudan - Is there hope?
Getting comfortable
2014 - A year in photos
Indonesia: Tsunami+10
Are selfies evil?
Chaco Women
Guatemala: Playful women
South Sudan: New nation, old problems
Philippines: After the typhoon
Advent images
Jumping Rope
Sanctuary
Abyei: On the border of two Sudans
f8 Belgrade
Timbuktu trouble
Roma Redux
In praise of literacy
Syrian refugees
Guatemala genocide trial
#TeamRefugees
#TeamRefugees

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a unique team of ten refugees participated for the first time in international competition. Their participation clearly showed that bravery knows no borders.To honor their participation and the struggle of refugees and displaced people around the world to survive and prosper, every day during the Olympics I posted an image […]

Nepal Quake + 1
Nepal Quake + 1

One year ago today, within a few brief seconds, the floor of the Kathmandu Valley shifted five feet to the south. It was the earthquake everyone knew was coming, but few had prepared for. In the year since, the survivors have lived in “temporary” shelters for one monsoon season, then one cold Himalayan winter, and are […]

2015 – A year in photos
2015 - A year in photos

When Arthur “Weegee” Fellig, a New York City street photographer in the 1930s and 1940s, was asked what the secret was to his images, he responded, “f8 and be there.” In other words, you gotta show up. During this past year, that’s what I tried to do. From the streets of Pasco, Washington, to the […]

Europe welcomes refugees
Europe welcomes refugees

When I heard the news that some governors in the United States were trying to forbid the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states, I remembered the wet infants I’d been handed on Lesbos. As rubber rafts overloaded with refugees floundered in the surf off the Greek island, photographers weren’t exempt from helping to get […]

Pilgrimage to Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Pilgrimage to Hiroshima & Nagasaki

It’s safe behind the camera. There’s enough stuff to think about–aperture, shutter speed, framing–that I can usually stay somewhat detached from the emotion in front of the lens, be it grief or anger or levity. But what usually occurs at a professional distance has a bad habit of sneaking up on me later. So it […]

South Sudan – Is there hope?
South Sudan - Is there hope?

Cecil the Lion is dead. In an act that has been rightly criticized all over the world, a Minnesota dentist traveled to Zimbabwe and paid a lot of money to wound the iconic lion and then chase him for two days before finally killing the animal and skinning him to take home a “trophy” to […]

Getting comfortable
Getting comfortable

Photography can be, at its best, an intimate window into people’s lives. Yet intimacy implies proximity. The war photographer Robert Capa understood that. He said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” At a certain point, however, getting close can induce discomfort in the subject of the image, making them change what […]

2014 – A year in photos
2014 - A year in photos

In these waning minutes of 2014, I want to offer my thanks to those people around the world who let me share in their lives for a few moments or a few days this year. Because they were willing to tell me their stories, or let me into their homes and neighborhoods to document their […]

Indonesia: Tsunami+10
Indonesia: Tsunami+10

People throughout South Asia will soon pause to remember the giant waves that ten years ago this month swept over thousands of coastal communities, killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving millions homeless. This is the story of several of those communities.Immediately after the December 26, 2004, tsunami, I flew to Sri Lanka to cover […]

Are selfies evil?
Are selfies evil?

When a camera is pointed away from the photographer, it can yield images that provide a fascinating window through which we can better see and understand the world around us. Yet when the camera is turned around and pointed toward the photographer, rather than providing new insight into that fascinating world out there, it merely […]

Chaco Women
Chaco Women

There’s a wonderful image that appeared on social media sites recently. It features the current presidents of Argentina, Chile and Brazil compared, supposedly, with their counterparts from 35 years ago. The smiling women versus the glowering men. These contrasting images say a lot about the journey Latin Americans have traveled since Operation Condor, the United […]

Guatemala: Playful women
Guatemala: Playful women

Decades ago, I hitchhiked across the United States, and along the way I stopped at the Grand Canyon. Yet while growing up I had seen so many pictures of it that when I first stepped out on the rim and looked down, I thought, “Oh. This looks just like the pictures.” It was cool, certainly, […]

South Sudan: New nation, old problems
South Sudan: New nation, old problems

When fighting broke out in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, in December, Asanta Jantana quickly gathered her seven children and fled for another part of the country where she hoped she could find peace. They hitched a ride on a truck for a day, then walked the last 12 miles to her brother’s house in the […]

Philippines: After the typhoon
Philippines: After the typhoon

Tacloban was ground zero for last November’s typhoon in the Philippines. Although its residents have been hard at work cleaning up the mess the super storm left behind, a walk along the city’s ravaged waterfront is still a powerful emotional experience. As I picked my way through the rubble on Valentine’s Day in February, there […]

Advent images
Advent images

Advent is a time of waiting–for the incarnation, for justice, for peace. Over the centuries the church has developed a series of measures to help us develop the practice of waiting, everything from different liturgical colors to candles and wreathes to calendars with little doors to special music (though it’s an unfair fight: for every […]

Jumping Rope
Jumping Rope

When I was a kid at Lincoln Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington, I preferred the monkey bars during recess and would frequently hang there, often upside down, watching my classmates jump rope while chanting some rhythmic rhyme. In that pre-modern universe it was only girls that jumped rope, of course. Any attempt by a boy […]

Sanctuary
Sanctuary

A few days ago, Pope Francis paid an unannounced visit to a refugee center in Rome. He arrived without a motorcade and spent 90 minutes talking with refugees and the staff of the center, which is run by his order, the Jesuits. Afterwards, he urged the faithful to be better stewards of empty church buildings by […]

Abyei: On the border of two Sudans
Abyei: On the border of two Sudans

When violence breaks out between two different groups in Africa, it’s common for western media reports to characterize what happened as “tribal violence” or “ethnic conflict.” Such nomenclature is mandatory for writing about Africa, wrote Binyavanga Wainaina in his landmark 2005 essay How to Write about Africa. Such reductionism makes complicated scenarios easier to digest […]

f8 Belgrade
f8 Belgrade

I don’t think I’d last long in an office. Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to never break a sweat, to have a fast internet connection, to never get your feet wet, to not have to run through an airport to catch a connecting flight. But it would be so . . hmm, for […]

Timbuktu trouble
Timbuktu trouble

Timbuktu sounds dramatically different these days than it did a year ago, when religious extremists exercised terror, beating women and girls who ventured out of the house without completely covering themselves, chastising men who wore their pants too long, smashing any machine that made music, burning books of science and faith that dated back centuries […]

Roma Redux
Roma Redux

As I stepped out of a taxi near a collection of metal shipping containers in Makis, a village outside of Belgrade, Serbia, the people living in the containers eyed me suspiciously. When I set my camera case on the ground and start assembling my camera equipment, a few of the women started shouting, Bezi! Bezi! — […]

In praise of literacy
In praise of literacy

Following the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua in 1979, one of the first priorities of the new government was to launch a massive literacy campaign throughout the cities and countryside. Political empowerment of the poor majority demanded the ability to read and write, and volunteers from throughout the world came to help. Run […]

Syrian refugees
Syrian refugees

People have continuously lived in the Old City of Aleppo, Syria, for more than 5,000 years. In 2003 I went there to research a story about efforts to preserve the twisting labyrinth of narrow stone-paved streets. I intentionally got lost, and spent delightful hours just wandering, repeatedly trekking into dead-end alleys and having to retrace […]

Guatemala genocide trial
Guatemala genocide trial

Manuela Toj knelt in the mud at the bottom of the pit, the three skeletons before her covered with flower petals and burning candles. I knelt beside her, along with several of her neighbors, all of us gathered around the newly revealed skeletons. A Mayan priest intoned prayers for the dead while a young woman […]