Every time I get bogged down with things that seem like a challenge, I try to remind myself that life is all about perspective. And there is no time that simple philosophy is more clear to me than when I spend time with the Tarlesson family. The Tarlessons have endured a reality that most of us would shudder at the thought of. For some four years they lived in Liberian jungles and refugee camps, in a mad scramble to avoid the atrocities of civil war. Many of their family and friends succumbed to the violence. But 26 members of the extended family managed to immigrate to the United States and now grow organic vegetables on a 50 acre farm in Northern California. One day every summer since their arrival, the family treats the community to an afternoon of traditional African dance, food, and culture. The thunderous rhythm of the drums can be heard far and wide. The children’s constant laughter is infectious. And the simple sight of their happiness is a glaring example of the fact that life is all about perspective.
Shooting at the Old Sugar Mill is always a treat. The history, colors and textures of that place make it a perfect backdrop for beautiful photos. Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of mentoring a couple dozen eager photographers there. We started the day with a quick lesson about light, then moved right into one great day of making photos.
A behind the scenes look at my shoot with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson.