I took my first few black and white photo classes while finishing a Biology degree from the University of Arizona in 2000. One of our assignments in class was to document a family, so I chose a family of Harley-Davidson riders and that's the experience that introduced me to documentary and street photography.
After enrolling at the International Center of Photography, I found myself taking theatrical portraits of performers as well as landscapes typical of vintage America, like diners and motels. I then traveled throughout Latin America for three years to expose myself to other cultures while sharing peoples stories in the spirit of documentary photography.
With the help of PENTAX, I co-founded OJOS nuevos, a digital photography workshop for at-risk Chilean girls that taught them how to photograph themselves and their communities. In Costa Rica, I worked as a Staff Photographer for The Tico Times. And upon returning home to Phoenix, AZ, I worked at Casa de Sueños, a network of transitional homes for unaccompanied refugee minors seeking reunification with their families in the U.S. The kids came from all the countries I hadn't visited on my journey, and hearing their stories about why and how they crossed the border was the catalyst to go back to school to learn more about social work.
Most recently, I received a Masters of Social Work and Public Health from the Washington University in St. Louis while co-founding Humans of St. Louis, a platform that shares an intimate look into the lives and struggles of the people of St. Louis, one photo and story at a time. By engaging strangers in insightful personal interviews, my hope is to produce photostories that represent part of the larger community conversations and regional development taking place in and around St. Louis.