It was May 18th, in this foul year of our Lord, 2016 –
When I set out on this photo expedition my initiative was to document the everlasting hope found in even the most foul situations. To portray the deep down manifestation of knowing there’s a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I was naive. And what I ran into was much darker than I could've imagined, a light so dim that you’d chalk it off as a post-consciousness-hallucination, go back to sleep and dream of a better home. It was despair and loathing in a camp full of abandoned professional careers – these were businessmen, doctors, teachers, artists… truly incredible talents. The kind of loss experienced by so many in this camp was heavy, and I could feel it. My steps were weighed down by this force, and my runaway thoughts drifted perversely inwards. Self-conscious paranoia – situations like these can turn your mind against itself real quick. It was crushing, not only by observation, but by comparison. I had feelings of guilt and nausea, and I couldn't escape them. It was intense, and I felt lost. I was an unwanted tourist, camera around my neck and everything.
This isn't about me, though, and I realized that shortly after hearing an orchestra of sounds that I'll never forget. Starting with the drum-roll of size 3 feet stampeding towards me, followed by a four-part harmony, "My Friend! My Friend!” They shouted, and within seconds a group of the cutest kids you'll ever see were grabbing my legs, hugging me. My place in this camp, and my role in these peoples live's became clear. It was simple, I was here to be a patron of good-will, smiles and laughter. Trying to make it a little better for whoever I could during my ten-day stay. And that felt so right, because with these kids came hope, and although it was naive, it was there. I found it and it was powerful.