War Hurts... It's a long story.


That's the sound of the relief that I feel after a mini vacation visiting my family and friends in Oregon. I had the weekend off for the first time since late May so I booked some plane tickets for my girlfriend and I. It has been so refreshing to breathe mountain air, to see the people I love and to have some time away.

My sister actually married a good friend of mine from high school, Toby Johnson, and currently live next door to another couple who are good friends since my teens. Funny story about Toby; he was the subject of my very first B&W portrait assignment at Cuesta Community College. He was going through a real Goth stage and I photographed him in a beach town graveyard that I lived nearby. The photos were disturbing and at the same time provoking validating my love for photographing people in their raw element. I was nervous to show my teacher the images thinking he wouldn't approve of my subject matter. Instead, he totally encouraged me saying that I had good composition, depth of field... All of these words that I didn't understand the meaning to at the time. Here are a couple of shots that I made Toby dig up from the archives.

Well, here I am in Oregon almost 9 years later photographing Toby again (with my sister) for a War Hurts catalogue shoot. Both Toby and Jessica are these amazing break dancers so we got some shots of Jessica breaking at this school yard in Bend, Oregon.

My friend Jesse Roberts is launching this clothing line to help support an orphanage in Nicaragua that he has built and is launching this summer. Except it's not really an orphanage, more like a family home that takes in orphans and street kids addicted to glue. I actually went down to Nicaragua a couple of years ago to scope out the land that Jesse purchased to build this family home. Jesse just got back from a month of filming a documentary about the impoverished and abused children that are the repercussion of a civil war almost 25 years ago. Jesse's wife Maria actually escaped by helicopter to America when she was 12 because her family was being hunted by the Sandinistas; a left-wing Nicaraguan political party. Since marrying Maria and learning a bit of Nicaragua's history, Jesse's heart for missions and social justice turned into a heart for creating this family home. It is amazing to be this close to a dream and see it unfold from a visionary stages to a plot of land and into an actually building soon to house about a dozen orphan girls. Jesse has gone to great lengths to developing this dream and even created a non-profit called Rise Up to be the umbrella company of all of his great missions endeavors. Please check out his website and if you have the heart for it, get involved. Affect your world.

Jesse and his familia.