Giving Voice to Stories

September 28, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I recently read a fascinating article about a hospital chaplain and what he's learned from being in the presence of thousands of dying patients.  Sure, it's a somber topic, some may even find it morbid, but I found his observations and remarks to be so profound about LIFE.  This quote sums it up:

“It’s such a terrible thing when a voice goes unheard. I have seen so many voices die,” Park says. “I have learned, in all my time with all my patients, each of us hold a story and must be given a voice. In the telling there is healing.”

You can find the complete article here.

I can't help but think how this all relates to photography.  Environmental portraits, such as those I do on location, endeavor to tell a story about the subject being photographed.  Take this image of Parijita Bastola, for example.  Parijita had just completed competing on the 2022 season of NBC's hit talent search show, The Voice.  She had done very well, making it to the semi-finals, and there was no doubt that the experience would propel her singing career to greater heights.  But in January 2023, when this image was made, her future was unclear.  Exactly how when, and where the opportunities would present themselves was still unknown.  This image was intended to capture that transitional moment in her life.

Nikon D600

The location was specifically chosen to place her in her home state (the Bay Bridge is recognizable to most Marylanders), as well as provide access to a big sky in the background (used to a greater extent in some other images from this shoot).  Admittedly, we got lucky getting such dramatic skies that day.  Her wardrobe is also significant.  As the daughter of two immigrants from Nepal, that culture plays a large role in her life.  Her dress represents that.  But most important is her body positioning (hands) and her contemplative gaze in the direction of the water.  All these elements combine to present an image of Parijita in which she looks from her past into an unknown future.

And so, I ask to you ponder for a moment:  what is my story?  And how will others know my story after I can no longer tell it myself?


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