“My story is tied to India like beautiful bookends that hold my chapters together. The bow tie conclusion in my great narrative. Why wouldn’t I go back to her? She has taught me how to love freely and hurt deeply. [How to see and be seen.]”
I remember scribbling this thought down in my iphone’s note app after returning from India two years ago. I will never forget saying my last goodbye outside of our hotel and thinking to myself, “How can I not come back to this place and these people?” I will spare you the details of my story (I would love to share it with you in person!) but to say that Jesus changed my life through my time in India is a little bit of an understatement. Something in me shifted and I felt God asking me to let go and surrender the plans I had made for my life. I felt this unrelenting urge to create and to tell visual narratives through photography and film. Two years into my degree as a biochemistry major and this is what God tells me. Since then, I have seen it grow so organically, from asking my friends to shoot for fun to working full-time as a portrait and editorial photographer. It makes so much sense looking back on it now, as I reflect on how much of who I am is both the artist and the scientist.
This is what made going back to India for the second time this past summer so so special. India is the place that taught me the power of stories. Of my story. To go back, with everything that God has taught me, camera in hand, and to invest into old relationships and to build new ones. To capture the story of a unreached hilltop village, to shoot for an amazing brand fighting against sex-trafficing, to watch God use a gift that was 100% given by him to bless others. Now that is a story.
India is so more than the beautiful color palettes and the palaces in Jaipur, it is an incredible, interesting culture that shows you something new and absolutely wild every single day. The thing that really keeps me coming back, year after year, will always be the people and relationships that I have met along the way.