I'm very excited to have been invited to photograph the Maasai Olympics
in Kenya this coming December! Launched in 2012, the Olympics are a collaboration between Big Life Foundation
(which was co-founded by photographer Nick Brandt) and local communities in an effort to provide an alternative to lion-killing - which had threatened the local lion population - as a rite of passage for Maasai males. The Olympics support local communities by awarding prizes for both individual competitors for their performance in the games and entire communities in recognition of their conservation efforts. Competitions for the Maasai girls have recently been incorporated into the Olympics, so now everyone can take part!
My plan is to create portraits of both male and female participants in the Olympics and document the games themselves. While I'm in Kenya, I also plan on creating portraits of anti-poaching rangers who patrol Amboseli National Park.
As a photographer, I've done a great deal of portraiture, but I have recently focused on creating work that addresses issues that I feel are critical, such as man's relationship with the natural world and other environmental concerns. This trip is the perfect opportunity for me to utilize portraiture to highlight a group of people that was able to recognize a crisis and take decisive action - including a significant change to cultural traditions - in an effort to positively impact their communities and the local ecosystem.
By sharing my images with others, I hope to help educate people about conservation projects that they may not know of - like the Olympics - and increase the visibility of such projects, which are playing a vital role in the survival of various species throughout the world. I will partner with community organizations in order to share this story with people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about such endeavors or to understand how important conservation projects are not only to the immediate ecosystem, but for the health and stability of the planet overall.
I also hope to use the images that I create during this trip to apply for grants to fund future trips, so I can continue photographing the Olympics and other conservation efforts, such as Africa's two all-female anti-poaching units, the Black Mambas
in South Africa and Akashinga
This undertaking isn't cheap, and your donation will go toward defraying my costs related to this project, including airfare, travel within Kenya, accommodations, required vaccinations, film, and processing.
Your support is extremely important to me, and every little bit helps! As a "thank you," I'm offering the following gifts, to be fulfilled within a few months of my return to the States...
Donors who pledge $50 - $125 will receive a pinhole image from my trip approx. 4x5 in size. (I don't go anywhere without a pinhole camera!)
Donors who pledge $125 or above will receive an 8x10 print from my trip.
And if you donate $500 or more, I will do a slide talk about my project for you, your class, or your group.
To learn more about me and my work, please check out my website
, where you can find current and archived projects, as well as my CV.