Ever since my first mission trip to Mexico in the spring of 1992, I've known that photography is most moving when you're shooting in a developing country. The rawness of it, the truth, the emotion. It's just a different world. As I traveled on Semester at Sea in 1998, I was lucky enough to have a photographer for a roommate. She was actually the apprentice to the ship's photographer and she worked in the darkroom on the ship. She taught me a ton about light and she revolutionized the way I took photos. But my photos were only as spectacular as the subjects and, somehow, the more forlorn the backdrop, the more authentic the subjects, and the better the photos turned out. Semester at Sea was like being on a 100-day shoot for National Geographic. It was amazing.
Since then, I haven't spent a ton of time in developing countries (six weeks in Nepal and a few other trips sprinkled about) and I've gotten used to shooting normal American photography. So today when I read Pastor Ryan's post about his recent mission trip to Honduras, I was taken back to that different world. And I love it. I long for bursts of it to shake me up and get me back to reality. Check out Pastor Ryan's photos here. Pastor Ryan is the one in the photos with the sleeves of tatoos. And the weird earrings. He looks like he should work in a biker bar or a tatoo parlor or something -- it tickles me that he's a pastor. In Cincinnati.
Somebody told me a few weeks ago that the Peace Corps runs a family program, where families can volunteer together. You better believe I was googling "peace corps family" as soon as I got my hands on my computer. Unfortunately, it appears that somebody was wrong. Or we'd be filling out the paperwork today. The thought of being back in a developing country, of doing something to make life better for people...that's the kind of life that makes me feel alive.