Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Faith
Nevertheless, she persisted
Nevertheless, she persisted

When Elizabeth Warren insisted on reading a old letter from Coretta Scott King on the floor of the U.S. Senate on February 7, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ordered her to shut up. In a classic example of mansplaining, McConnell commented on her silencing by saying, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” It instantly […]

2016 – A year in photos
2016 - A year in photos

There’s a military phrase that, despite my aversion to military terms, works well for photography. Some places I visit are clearly “target-rich environments,” in that it’s hard not to capture compelling images because the people and their surroundings are so beautiful. I’m not referring to some misplaced sense of the exotic. People aren’t interesting just […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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! — […]

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 […]

Egypt: Advent in Tahrir Square
Egypt: Advent in Tahrir Square

It is Advent in Tahrir Square, where people are waiting. They’re not sure for what, but such is the nature of Advent, to wait for freedom and deliverance amid uncertainty. The people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square are both afraid and hopeful at the same time. That’s Advent in a land where Arab Spring has […]

Philippines: Misery Mountain
Philippines: Misery Mountain

High on the slopes of fog-draped Mt. Diwata, far above the Compostela Valley in northern Mindanao, more than 40,000 people cling to the hillsides because of what lies under the ramshackle community of Diwalwal. It’s gold, and since its discovery here by Mandaya indigenous people in the late 1970s, Diwalwal has resembled parts of California […]

Brazil: Remembering Dorothy
Brazil: Remembering Dorothy

Antonia Silva Lima lives in a place called Hope. She came to the Amazon rainforest more than two decades ago, like hundreds of thousands of other migrants fleeing from poverty in other parts of Brazil. The settlers moved deep into the forest and cut down the trees to grow subsistence crops, only to be chased […]

Advent waiting
Advent waiting

Advent is a time when Christians practice the discipline of waiting. For many people in the world, however, waiting is more ordinary, the stuff of every day and not just special days. Waiting shapes who they are and how they see the world. For many who wait, impatience simply isn’t an option, perhaps because it’s […]

Haiti: Hatuey’s legacy
Haiti: Hatuey's legacy

They were easy to spot from a distance because they all had on the same red shirts. As they neared my row, I cringed a bit, hoping they would continue on towards the back of the plane that was going to carry us to Miami. But then two women stopped and asked to get past […]

Southern Sudan: Advent waiting
Southern Sudan: Advent waiting

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, and I’m somewhere over the west coast of Africa, sitting in a cramped economy class seat on a 17-hour flight from Johannesburg to Washington. I’m trying to get into the zen of waiting, if for no other reason than I have no choice but to just sit here. And […]

AIDS Conference in Vienna
AIDS Conference in Vienna

I’ve been to some pretty rough places over the years, and I know they’re rough because every once in a while I get to go someplace really pleasant. Like Vienna, where I spent the last week. I didn’t have much time to wander around, but did get out with some colleagues the last night to […]