WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS
(PORTRAITS OF) PEOPLE I MET LAST YEAR
Some projects take months of planning. Some projects require conscious effort and execution. And some projects happen almost before the artist even realizes that inspiration has taken hold. I did not intend for ‘The People I Met Last Year’ to become the resonating force that it is now. In fact, I did not intend for it to be anything. And yet, it manifested itself through my lens as a social study on the complex linked matrix that is the human existence
Over the twelve months that I spent trekking along the Northern Croatian border on the Drava River to the Adriatic Sea photographing sweeping landscapes, historic castles and roads, I discovered the real purpose for my travels. I realized that it wasn’t the setting of the photographs, but rather the people who defined those settings, changed them and influenced them. So, I took the time to simply approached strangers and asked to take their portrait. These impromptu photoshoots occasionally turned into longer conversations, interactions and friendships. More often, though, these encounters came and went with the blink of my camera lens.
My original goal was to put together a strong portrait series. In the end, though, I realized that the project went much deeper than that–it revealed people as incredibly distinct, multilayered individuals who create their own stories and yet live connected by a few degrees. Moving forward, my approach to people as a subject of photography was derived from my fascination by what makes us the same. Personally, the energy I encountered in each person gave me the chance to reflect on his life and understand purpose as an artist.
Perhaps the project suggests that we all are immigrants at one point in our life. We are all outsiders. And yet, every person has dignity in his or her identity as a human. We are, indeed, connected. In the end, everything has been affected by everything else: people, objects, and ideas.