Duration: Six years as a full-time photographer.
Location: Tofo Beach, Mozambique.
Education: BA in photojournalism, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.
Career path: Photography has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories always involved having one of those little point-and-shoot disposable film cameras in my hand. At fifteen, I started a part-time business taking photos and doing shoots at horse shows where I grew up in North Salem, New York. I also went to Tanzania for a photography workshop with National Geographic. That experience completely changed my life, as I saw that I could combine my passion for photography with a newfound—yet very intense—passion for travel and East Africa. After that trip, the rest of my teenage and young adult years were spent on the road, either going to school or establishing myself as a young photographer—sometimes both at the same time. By the time I turned 25, I’d managed to travel to 70 countries.
I came back to the United States to go to university in California. After graduating, I sold most of my things except for what I could fit into a couple of suitcases and a backpack, moved abroad to Mozambique, and went all-in with my work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, I live in Tofo, a small town on the edge of the Indian Ocean. These days, my work takes me all over Africa, but I also travel and work extensively up in the Arctic and Iceland both as a photographer and as a travel and photography guide. The stories I shoot usually pertain to issues surrounding wildlife and sustainability as well as travel pieces. My clients include BBC Travel, Caritas Internationalis, Ethiopian Airlines, IVUmed, South African National Parks and Wild magazine.
Favorite projects: In 2018, I got a call from The Nature Conservancy to fly to the Seychelles and shoot a story about the world’s largest marine protected area, which was to be officially announced at the end of the week. My photos were published in more than 350 print and online publications around the world. It was one of the most exciting assignments I’d received because of its gravity, and the pressure to put something together in a week that would aptly represent the announcement was pretty staggering. In the end, the photos I walked away with were some of my favorites I’ve shot in the conservation realm so far.
Work environment: My environment can range from crouching in a thorny bush while watching a herd of African buffalo, to standing in a frozen Arctic forest in -32°F temperatures while searching for the northern lights, to sitting in on a groundbreaking surgery taking place in a Mozambican hospital, to bumping shoulders with shop vendors and donkeys carting piles of fruit while wandering through a Moroccan city’s crowded medinas. One of the main reasons I love my assignments is because each is so unique and challenging in its own way. Shooting in a conservative village in Gabon is vastly different from shooting at a punk-themed café in Reykjavík, Iceland. The diverse range of where I’ve worked has helped me gain confidence as a photographer, especially in situations which may be challenging culturally, mentally or physically.
Approach: My distinguished approach comes from the two regions I’m most comfortable working in and, yet, are on opposite ends of the spectrum: Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arctic. My work sends me all over the globe, so while one month I may be doing a story on elephant populations in South Africa, the next I could be in Peru, Nepal or Italy. I’m adaptable to different environments and can apply my skills to a number of situations.
Aspirations: I’m hoping to spend more time pursuing stories in polar regions. My dream is to shoot in Antarctica, so I plan to continue laying the groundwork to get there. I’m also searching for funding to shoot stories in Greenland that I’ve been researching for well over a year now. Here in Africa, I would like to continue delving further into wildlife and environmental documentary photography.
I’d also like to land a multipage story in National Geographic or the New York Times. I know it’s a big reach, but I’d like to think I’m on my way. Of course, I want to continue to shoot in completely new regions and countries. I’ve never been to Japan, Mongolia or Kyrgyzstan, but those three countries are the top of my list to explore and shoot.
Philosophy: Remain true to the moment and the story in front of me. I keep my influence outside of what I’m photographing, since I want the scene to be as natural and normal as possible. I try to act as a fly on the wall. That’s something I love about photojournalism: you can trust that what you’re looking at is exactly what happened, whether the photographer had been there or not. I apply that idea to my travel photography as well; I want my viewers to see special moments around the world without me directing them.