so... What is your story?
In my early twenties, I spent much time philosophising and deciding what life meant to me. I decided I would live a life filled with passion and purpose. I admired my first photographic mentor, Stuart Rugg, for many reasons, not only did he set me out on my path as a photographer, but without him even knowing it, he mentored me on my path of life as a human.
When I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, I was working at a research clinic for dependency and part time for a movie company as a PA. My passion was painting and, at this point, I was not taking photos. I loved travel and had lots of opportunities to travel abroad with the movie job. I was also seeing as much of America as possible as a "student" to my first mentor Stuart Rugg. He was a professor of Kinesiology at Occidental College. I never took a class from him but approached him to be my faculty sponsor for a club I started in college called "The Adventure Club". As they say, birds of a feather flock together; and we hit it off. We began traveling the Western United States shooting landscapes. Stuart was the most amazing human being I had ever encountered. I use to say that if the world was only filled with Stuart Ruggs in "character" there would be no conflict, world peace would be a reality.
I had earned an art degree, but I double majored with an additional degree in Political Science. This major required I study philosophy and political thought. After I graduated and left my island of idealism, I soon realized the "real" world did not reflect too much of what I studied. I traveled to 11 countries in my early twenties and explored cultural differences and revelled in the diversity of cultures and tradition. Stuart Rugg and I were taking 4-12 hour car trips following the greats like Ansel Adams and photographing some of the most majestic landscapes the great western United States had to offer. I made over 46 photo adventures in four years traveling to Alaska, Wyoming Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and California. It was on these trips that I learned how to use my camera.
During these long drives Dr. Rugg and I would have many philosophical indulgences. When I was traveling alone in Europe, I would reflect on these conversations and the "character" of the man whose perspective I was privileged to spend time with. I was trying to break down the principles that made up this man's essence.
I broke it down to 5 core principles: Honor, Integrity, Morality, Discipline, and Dedication. Stuart would always talk about honor and integrity, and the influence his Grandmother had in his life. His Grandmother instilled in him principles that she felt every young man should live by. His innately pure heart and her guidance forged an exceptional man. Stuart Rugg is the only person I have admired for his principles; the only other people I have found worthy of modeling (bias obvious)... my father for his heart, my mother for her discipline and my pastor for his call-to-action.
But if you are going to try to make a difference in the world, the "least" you can do is regulate your own impact in the world. I am a man who looks for inspiration and strives to always better myself. I live life with passion and purpose in every aspect. I live by the principles of honor, integrity morality, and discipline. I believe in leading by example and standing up against unprincipled behavior. I currently run the community outreach called Liberty City -SoHo; we work with Rescue Missions, Homeless Youth, Tenement Housing, and needs of the Lower Manhattan community. 2015 marks the year I launch my own non-profit called, One Day Today. It has several missions, long term and short term. We are currently supporting organizations in their incubation to manifest dreams of bringing about change for the betterment of community. We are currently building a jobs site for graduates of the New York City's homeless shelters who are ready to get back on their feet and looking for opportunity and dignity.
I believe that many people look to define themselves by "what you do" for monetary gain as the standard barrier of self worth. It seems then that pride issues inherently form from the struggle of validation and perceived acceptance and reverence as reflected in the market place. I am a bit more of a humanist.
I would like to think it is a far better philosophy to look to what you do with your heart that "defines" you as a person. I feel "simple" selfless good will bears more fruit and will have more life impacting change then any grand gesture of ego and self-achievement.
To sum up my perspective in a sentence: I am a ordinary person striving to do extraordinary things by attempting to live every moment, every effort, every cause with passion and purpose.