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New work from Montana

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Aspiring photographers often ask me where they might go to find the best stories. My answer is always the same – get to know your own backyard, what’s close at hand, rather than traveling around the world just to capture images of something foreign or exotic.  My rationale is that if you can tell these stories of every day life and focus on what we have in common rather than the obvious differences, then you will succeed as a storyteller.

Ironically, I have rarely listened to my own advice and the past dozen years has seen me crisscross the globe playing witness to civil unrest, turmoil, and violence in over 85 countries.  I broke my pattern in 2010 when I moved to Montana and have tried to base myself in this beautiful but austere landscape.

The images I am now able to create tell the story about our deep connection to land, the importance we place in stewardship, and a vanishing way of life in the American West. The folks whom I have got to know are remarkable in their fortitude, work ethics, and the neighborliness they exhibit everyday.  It is not an easy story but one that requires patience and persistence to birth – and yet I believe it is as rewarding in the telling as the more sensational events I have had the opportunity to cover.

Check out this month’s Viewfinder in Orion magazine and the New Yorker lens blog to see some of my images from  home.

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Tourists watch as Li Feng cares for two month old giant panda cubs at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Sichuan Province August 29, 2015.  Nearly 50 percent of giant pandas births are to twins, but the mothers can care for only one cub at a time so keepers in China have developed a careful process for swapping each baby so they are fed both by their mother and by hand. Baby pandas wean from their mothers between 8-9 months and a year old and generally stay with their mothers for 2 years. (Photo by Ami Vitale)

National Geographic Live

I am excited to continue my tour as one of the featured National Geographic photographers at the National Geographic Live series in Redwood City, CA, Aug. 16, 2016. My talk, titled “Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions,” is about my exploration of the world from temples to war zones and rhinos to pandas. Tickets and information are available [ … ]

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My 2015 World Press Photo winner displayed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Rhinos in Amsterdam Airport

If you are passing through the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, check out my World Press Photo rhino  image on a billboard there. The image features the conservation work of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust. Please follow their work on social media and consider a visit to Kenya to see them in action. Your support goes directly toward [ … ]

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Skillshare

Skillshare came with me to Venice Beach, California, where I share tools and practices of documentary photography for an online class. There are instructions for an exercise you can do at home and I can view your work being posted to Skillshare. If you use the link here to sign up, you can receive three months of Skillshare [ … ]

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