I am the daughter of a therapist (my mother listened to and connected with people for a living) and an avid amateur photographer (my father took over 2,000 family photos when I was a child). My parents taught me that asking questions and talking to people is a great way to explore the world. I studied photojournalism and anthropology as an undergraduate (I was looking for ways to merge my love of visual media and my interest in people) and went on to get a MA in Visual Anthropology.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned the power of personal stories. I had moved to New York City and I decided that it was time to start unpacking the overwhelming grief I’d been carrying since my mother’s suicide a few years before. I became active in a community of people who had lost someone to suicide – survivors of suicide – and felt that hearing their stories helped me to grieve. In 1997, I started making Daughter of Suicide, my personal documentary about my mother’s life, her death and the impact of suicide on my life.
Making that film, showing it at film festivals and talking to others about their experiences, helped me realize how powerful it can be to share our stories with other people. Listening to and being heard, connecting with other people, witnessing life – I had found my calling. So I ask questions, I listen, and I make images. I am a visual listener. A documentarian. I want to know your story and I believe that there is power in sharing that story with an audience.
If you’d like to learn more about my other work, please visit my website.