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Dear America,

I woke up this morning weeping. I woke up this morning in physical pain. I woke up this morning more scared than upset.

Why?

Because of who I am. I’m a non-white male. I’m gay. I come from a family who immigrated here. I’m a survivor of college rape. 

Because I’m a minority.

Last night as I watched the votes be counted, I felt my voice begin to not matter. I felt my voice begin to not be heard. I sat in my room reminded of all the times that this country has led me to believe that I didn’t belong despite a greater promise to its citizens. That I didn’t matter. That I wasn’t human.

But this morning, I quietly remembered that as a photographer I’ve been given a gift and a vision to see the world differently. To see our world differently.

You see, I don’t just create beautiful pictures that my clients love, but I share their story. I give it life. I give these people a voice so that they can be heard.

I don’t just create beautiful pictures that I fall in love with, but I find the beauty in all things. I’m a firm believer that everyone has something beautiful about them and it’s worth mentioning. Even in your mess, there’s still something beautiful about you.

So America - you’re beautiful. You have a story and voices that need to be heard. You matter, America. I’m going to continue to stand with you because if I don’t, I’ve let myself succumb to the hatred and bigotry that has left me feeling like I don’t belong.

Because if I don’t, I’m not sharing the story of America that I know we have. Because if I don't, people won't get to see how beautiful you are.

America, I love you.