Humans of Vanuatu is a collaboration between myself and Paul Inggamer. We’ve both come to Vanuatu via rather circuitous paths – me from Canada on what I thought was a brief two-year contract. Within the first twelve months, I knew it was going to be very hard to leave. Nine years later, I’ve concluded that there’s no going back. Vanuatu is my home.
Someone asked me once to explain a little about what I look for when I take photographs. Here’s what I told them:
The very first theatre show I ever worked on was called How I Got That Story. It’s the tale of a sad-sack stringer in Saigon during the Vietnam conflict, who misses story after story, until one day he finds himself in the middle of a crowd. A buddhist monk approaches him and asks to use his lighter. Before the hapless hero knows what’s going on, the monk has doused himself with gasoline and used the lighter to immolate himself.
I’ve never chased that kind of story, and I’m happy to say, I’ve never had it thrust upon me. I like the other kind of story – what I like to call the miracle of the mundane. Those little moments that let you see wonder again in tiny bits of everyday existence. Those moments when people (whether they mean to or not) reveal some essential part of themselves and in so doing reveal the multifaceted beauty of human existence. I’ll leave Tahrir Square and Benghazi for others. I think we’re most interesting when we’re at peace – or at least, fighting the smaller battles of day to day life.