In the Beginning…
Change Your World was born out of the Afghan Women’s Project. In the fall of 2002 I attended a reception for 14 Afghan women who were touring the US on a State Department tour. If you remember, at that time the media portrayal of Afghan women was all about uniformly sad women and children in need of “saving.” The women I met stood out in sharp contrast to this and I was struck with the idea that I, a professional photographer with connections in that part of the world, should go to Afghanistan to uncover and show a more complete picture.
Getting this inspiration and following through with it changed my life.
I’ve had people ask me, “How does one find inspiration? Where do you look for it?” In my case, it seems to find me; and it finds me most often when I’m not even looking for it. But that’s not the whole picture. On the first anniversary of 9/11, I began to seriously ponder how I could have a positive effect in the world, even though I had no idea how. I put it aside and went on with my life. About a month later, I met the Afghan women.
When I’m needing inspiration in the form of a new idea or a new project, I find that putting myself in the right frame of mind for it to strike helps. For me, that can mean taking time to look at art; read a novel or see a film of a genre I usually avoid. Sometimes I take different routes driving or walking, call a friend I haven’t seen in ages, do a new physical activity, take an afternoon off to wander in nature, a museum or a gallery. In short, I do things outside of my normal activities, if not outside my comfort zone.