The surgeon’s first cut. Or one chance for a new life after you’ve been rescued from the streets or from guerrillas. I am drawn to photographs that spark emotion and feeling, that can smack you in the face or make you feel like you’re flowing silk — or let you see deep down into a person’s soul. Every time I shoot, I’m back at Ground 0.
In “Hogares Claret”, a foundation for youth in Medellin, I was invited to photograph the residents — kids older and younger than me and some adults, too — and show them for who they really are, rather than what society believes them to be. Some of these kids were rescued from the jungles where they’d been captured and many of them raped or drugged or forced to kill. In my month in Colombia, teaching them photography, living with them, what really struck me was that while my friends and I might want to grow up and get out of our homes, all that these kids want is to have a childhood, and a home they can go to.
In “Ground 0”, I shot inside a neurosurgeon’s operating theater, for the length of a seven-hour procedure that took twelve hours because a spinal screw was off-center. For the surgeons, it was just another day at work. They’re not thinking about what can go wrong — if they do, that’s when it goes wrong. In this case, the surgery was a success.