A world, a pen, a camera. Inspired by a slow, immersive and messy journey around the world, MilesAstray is a mongrel of photography and writing. Framed by candor and rawness, but not caged in by any one genre, style or color pallet, this body of work goes beyond catchy, one-dimensional black or white narratives and notions of misery, happiness, modernity and exoticism. Instead, it aims to portray authentic glimpses of here, there and elsewhere. The result is both homage and appeal.
MilesAstray is, in one word, photowriting – the collision of two art forms that usually run parallel and seldom intersect. In photojournalistic storytelling, words take a backseat to the pictures that drive the narratives; captions and texts are sober passengers in the visual vessel. Photopoetry and photoprose are more affectionate unions, liaisons between images drunk on words and vice versa, but few have fishtailed into these realms. MilesAstray is a polyamorous blend of all these genres, intimate and raw, felt and thought and created by one heart and mind and hand that holds both camera and pen.
Reflecting upon societies and the individuals partaking in them, MilesAstray performs an exploratory tight rope act, balancing the diverse complexity and unifying simplicity at the heart of the human condition, of life, and the stage it takes place on.
My work documents today's challenges, all too easy to ignore with our ill-conceived sense of safe distance – far away and down the road – but that we must face, together, now. I hope my photos and words can contribute to the forward movement of our day, which seeks unity over divide, compassion over greed, sustainability over hyper-consumption, and awareness over ignorance and indifference. I want to chip in a better understanding of the increasingly intertwined (societal) dynamics of our world, and chime in with the call for more awareness of injustices and inequities between polar extremes like dirt poor and filthy rich.
Yet, my project shows another vital angle in times of polarization dominating the political discourse and media outlets readily catering to audiences with an appetite for sensation: a lens pointed at everyday life that never ascends to newsworthiness – a soothing testimony to the beautiful normalities of a mass-middle carrying on ordinarily.
That’s why at every corner a prominent spotlight is pointed at the moments next door: noteworthy normalities hidden in plain sight of destinations extraordinaires, unsung heroes disappearing in the shade of headlining happenings, modest neighbors of the iconic – from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Manhattan mingling with Mangroves, poverty vis-à-vis worry-free.
Illustrating marvels of nature and mankind – some labeled destination-worthy and others known only to coincidence and destinationless wanderers – MilesAstray pairs feasts for the eyes with less digestible observations of civilization’s environmental impacts.
Finally, MilesAstray explores how we can live with less to have more. When insatiable consumerist longings and a false sense of entitlement drive those born into privilege, it is not only the suffering of others that takes a back seat – one’s own happiness quickly ends up out of sight. Meanwhile, those with less often have more: more moments, social ties and laughs, but they lack access to the most basic resources like food, shelter and education. Evening out the odds of this life lottery by distributing resources and opportunities in this world more evenly – from the life lottery winners to the runner ups – benefits everybody.
Of course awareness is only as good as the action that ensues. Changemakers find opportunities to engage in good causes in my nonprofit section.
One last thing: MilesAstray is not in the race for catering to ever shorter attention spans and slim appetites for easily digestible small portions. This holds true for its content, style, and the sub-stellar loading times due to a design that is inspired by art more so than functionality. But if you make the time, I will try to make it worth your while.