Shared Origins

Zoe and Tsehaye were born in Ethiopia and adopted by Lory and Sonya, a lesbian couple living in the US. When the girls are in middle school, Lory takes them to Ethiopia to explore their heritage. Although her same-sex partnership has been accepted within her community for over 20 years, Lory chooses to keep it a secret on their trip. In Ethiopia, homosexuality is a crime. Helen is an orphan living with her aunt and uncle in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When Helen, Zoe, and Tsehaye meet in Ethiopia, a strong bond is formed. Together, the two girls with two mothers and one motherless girl navigate the geographical, cultural, and emotional space of losing and finding family.

The Council

I recently launched a visual storytelling business, StoryMineMedia, with my colleague Catherine Orr. We decided to launch our website with the release of our first independent project. “The Council,” a series of short, quirky webisodes about a middle school student council election.

My Son’s Eyes

Renee Pinkney’s 19 year-old son Don’Tay suffers from a mental illness. At age 15, he allegedly committed a crime during a psychotic episode. Don’Tay has been in jail for over a year without education or treatment for his illness. While waiting for a trial, Renee and her husband Joey are fighting to gain rights for their son and help him get out of jail.

[Winner, College Photographer of the Year, Silver, 2011]

The Great Wide Open

When Rachel Westbrook found out she was pregnant, she knew that she could not keep her baby, but she also knew that she needed to be in his life. Doug Dotson and Maura Dillon had been married 10 years before they discovered they could not have a baby on their own and would need to adopt to grow their family. This is a story of the open adoption of Reed William Max Dotson and the journey his birth parents and adoptive parents are experiencing together.

[College Photographer of the Year, Bronze, 2010]

Starting Over

North Carolina is one of two states that prosecutes all 16- and 17-year olds as adults. After being accused of being in a fight at school, Jaqwan Dancy was suspended from school and put on adult probation.

Power Play

As Detroit attempts to reinvigorate a failing economy, alternative energy pioneers have a chance to spark a new industry. Garth Schultz, a solar panel entrepreneur, is poised to begin production, start up his business and help Michigan’s factories start churning once again.

[College Photographer of the Year, Silver, 2010]