Stories

After Florence

As the plane descended into New Bern, NC, I had already begun scanning for telltale traces of the hurricane that had recently come through. I was expecting to see symptoms of flooding and high winds everywhere, among businesses and homes. But to someone just passing through, or even staying to take in its historic downtown and views of the Neuse and Trent Rivers opening up into the Atlantic, New Bern seems to have moved on from…

The Kingdom

Even before you enter Bantar Gebang, Southeast Asia’s largest landfill, you can start to smell it. The two-lane road leading from the metropolises of Jakarta and Bekasi are frequently clogged with garbage trucks, their stench seeming to exacerbate the tropical heat. As soon as you go through the front gate you see the mountains of trash looming above. Running alongside is the black runoff water collecting in culverts. To many, this place is revolting, and…

Aceh, kids, and books

When my three brothers and I were kids, our mother would religiously take us to the local library once a week during the summer. A quick 10 minute walk from our house, the remainder of the day after our visit was normally taken up by exploring our newly discovered reads. It wasn’t until high school that I really started to realize how important those library visits had been. Not only the vocabulary we developed from…

The Seeds of Bantar Gebang

Bantar Gebang, Southeast Asia’s largest landfill, isn’t a place you’d expect much to be growing. Mountains of trash rise up all around you, larger every day. The rivers flow with trash and black water. At first glance, it looks like a harsh and infertile environment. The families who live here often do so in an unpleasant environment, living and working among the trash. BGBJ, “The Seeds of Bantar Gebang,” is a community that sits nestled…

Picture Stories

Maybe it was the dense population of people, or the resulting lack of wide open spaces, but it wasn’t too long after moving to Indonesia that I started to realize my interest in photography wasn’t landscapes. Living in a rural village on Java, I started creating pictures that told the story of the culture I was immersed in, rather ones that sought to document it. Pictures that could stand on their own, but together created…