An early mentor suggested that I look inside my own heart for stories that could strike a powerful and long-lasting chord. That way, I would feel nourished and rewarded by the work no matter what anyone else said, and also be willing to return to and deepen it over and over again.
In my mentor's own 30-year career, he had been looking for faces to photograph that expressed simultaneous love and anger, but could only succeed if he managed to preserve it during a formal studio setting. He challenged me to go find it out in the real world.
I focused the theme even more so, specifically to the world of children and how some of them first weld those two feelings together.
I found children in Lebanon who had been in school when jet fighters blew up their playground.
I found little boys in Kentucky and Illinois who were learning to the see the world as racists.
I met young teens in Los Angeles eager to join the largest street gang for the chance to make their own crime family.
I visited a doll therapy program for autistic children, where some of the young patients spoke for the first time in their lives through their puppets.