I grew up mainly in a small Colorado mountain town near Boulder in the 1960s and 70s. I also lived in Munich, Germany for a couple of years as a child and in Houston, Texas as a high school student. My father was a physicist and my mother an Austrian historian and so I had a lot of different influences - American, European, western US, rural, urban, intellectual - with a desire and interest to be able to communicate with anybody.
I went to the University of Colorado, where I studied existentialism under Hazel Barnes, who translated Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" to English. In the summers, I worked on salmon boats in Alaska and was immersed in the pursuit of the individual, authentic life and reading Ayn Rand. And I started traveling - anywhere and everywhere I could - and taking pictures. After I graduated from CU, I moved to New York to study film in the MFA Program at Columbia. I also studied documentary film at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico and ended up living there for 7 years and working all over the west as well as throughout Asia and Latin America as a documentarian. I was fortunate to have assisted several great photographers and cinematographers during this time, including Jack Parsons, Rich Clarkson, Judy Irola, Sam Abell and Eugene Richards.
At the age of 30, I moved back to NYC and started photographing events and portraits - as well as refugees in war zones. In 2001, I found myself in Afghanistan photographing during the Taliban rule. I fell in love with the country and worked there on and off for 15 years as a visual media content producer and consultant - primarily for international development organizations. I've also worked extensively throughout South Asia, Africa and the Middle East producing films and photographs and also communications strategies and outreach campaigns to communicate with local and international audiences. My philosophy to communications is to reach people on the local and community level.
My photographs, which primarily focus on international development themes, have been made on commission for UN agencies, USAID and various NGOs and have also been published by The New York Times, LA Times, Paris Match, Conde Nast, Oprah, El Palacio (Museum of New Mexico) and others. Gallery 169 and Sharq Gallery, both in Los Angeles, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations in New York have held solo exhibitions of my Afghanistan work. Exhibition venues for my other work include the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Sunnen Gallery in NYC and private collections. I've published two photography books: "Passage to Afghanistan” and "Trans New York". In 2018, I was appointed to the US State Department's Fulbright Specialist Program. I've also guest lectured at Columbia University (SIPA), The New School, NYU and Frostburg State .
I've made documentary films in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Sudan - usually collaborating with local crews. I've also written cross-cultural narrative screenplays, including SCARLET POPPY, which was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist and was sponsored by the National Film Development Corp of India at Independent Filmmaker Project's (IFP) "No Borders" in New York as well as co-production markets at Cannes, India, Dubai, and Busan International Film Festivals. I advised on and played one of the lead roles in Golden Globe winner Siddiq Barmak's second feature, OPIUM WAR, which won the Golden Marc'Aurelio Critic's Award at the Rome International Film Festival and was Afghanistan's submission to the foreign film section of the Academy Awards.