“Like many young photojournalists, I began my career covering some of the world’s most horrific conflicts. I travelled to Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Kashmir and other places. The aim of my work was to expose to the public all the horrible things I experienced. I photographed one war after another and I gradually realised that I have an obligation to show not only what divides us but also what we have in common.
At the beginning of my journalistic career I went to the centre of Gaza during a time of increased tension between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Together with other photographers I documented the same gruesome scene and found myself wondering whether we were telling the whole story. In the same places other extraordinary things were taking place - such as the Palestinian wedding I stumbled upon.
That wedding, and countless other activities like it, have reminded me that those caught up in the horrific events, are people just like you and me and if I dig beneath the headlines, I am able to discover the universal truth that we are all far more alike than we are different.
Early in my career, I had an opportunity to visit Guinea Bissau, a country in West Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. My sister was working there in the Peace Corps and instead of a short visit I stayed for six months. Without the pressure of a deadline I learned the importance of taking time to tell a story. What I encountered was not an Africa of wars and famines, nor was it the idealised world of safaris and exotic animals. I spent my time carrying water, gathering firewood and experiencing life of the local people. When food supplies ran low, we all went hungry... On my last evening I sat with a group of children beneath a sea of stars. One of the children, Alio, asked me if we had a moon in America. Whenever there is a full moon today, I still think of him. He believed America was so far away it was impossible for us to share the same moon. That was a turning point in my life - when I realised that I wanted to spend my life working to highlight the things we have in common rather than our differences.”