I’ve always been strongly affected by the environment, since I was a young child living beside a nuclear research lab in California. It was not outside of town but in it. Sometimes we’d hear, and feel, open-air explosions, some of which, I would learn later, contained depleted uranium. It was the height of the Cold War and people did not ask many questions then. At 7, we moved to the industrial New York City metropolitan area. Industrial contamination was so close to our leafy neighborhood, the wind sometimes carried fumes from refineries shattering our Rockwellian pretensions. Early on, I hatched a plan to move back westward away from the city to where there were mountains and forests; to the Rockies, then California again before landing in Tokyo. Naturally, I suppose, I became a documentary storyteller and a collector of visual evidence from my base in Asia for the past 2 decades. The documentary work focuses on humanity’s relationship with the environment and the ecological consequences of rapid development in East Asia, including violations of indigenous land and human rights. On the street, an “out of the corner of the eye” immediacy drives the work to peer beneath the surface at what is unspoken.
The work has been published and exhibited throughout the world and led to four monograph photo books, the first being “Empire: Impressions from China” and the latest on the “Black Tsunami: Japan 2011” on the epoch-changing triple disaster in Japan. Projects have been cited with the Alfred Eisenstadt Award (from Columbia University and Life Magazine), Leica’s Oskar Barnack, Picture of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, PDN and others for work from China, Japan, Afghanistan and Burma (Myanmar), etc. In 2015, I founded EverydayClimateChange (ECC) Instagram feed, where photographers from 6 continents document global climate change on 7 continents. ECC bears witness that climate change is not happening “over there” but it is also happening right here and right now. ECC is not a western view on climate change because photographers come from the north, the south; the east and the west; and are as diverse as the cultures in which we were all raised.