I have always had a deep yearning to understand and document the unknown, or that which may not have a voice in our turbulent world. Through my attempts to do so I have picked up various forms of artistic expressions that I believe have helped to appropriately fit the content and contexts of that which I am documenting and attempting to express. I am a photographer, painter and writer, but so much more. I have stopped trying to define my purpose in life because I believe that words can at times be limiting in their definitions. I purposely decide to leave out much of my life as “undefined” so as to allow it the room to continually grow and transform as my path unfolds.
What makes you passionate about helping Humanity Crew?
During my recent travels through Italy I was stunned by the number of locals I met who harboured great animosity towards the refugee situation in their homeland. In my twenty-four years of extensive travels I had never before been faced with such unapologetic xenophobia. I had always thought it a natural human reflex to help another when in a state of distress. Yet, there I was in a picturesque country, surrounded by cinematic beauty, hearing stories of families and children arriving to detention camps facing unimaginable circumstances. All this relayed to me through the clenched teeth of business owners whose fear of economic collapse stripped their narratives of any emotion whatsoever. The experience was bone chilling to my apparently naïve view of the world.
Although I have yet to visit a refugee camp in person, my experience in Italy left my confidence in the world’s state of compassion shaken. I have always been one to put myself in other’s shoes, instinctively taking on the world’s pain as though it where my own. Faced with the reality that not everyone necessarily wants the world to be a good, safe, and happy place for everyone -- if it means compromising their own good-fortunes -- made me realize the extent dehumanization refugees are being faced with. I couldn’t shake the feeling that should I find myself in similar circumstances I too would be treated with contempt. I am passionate about helping Humanity Crew and joining their efforts in Greece because I believe the situation refugees are facing shouldn’t be anyone’s reality. From an outside perspective, Humanity Crew seems to have a unique approach to getting involved and lending a helping hand to the cause. I can only imagine the circumstances in Greece and elsewhere for refugees calls for extensive psychological support. While most seem to focus on addressing physical needs at detention camps, Humanity Crew is highlighting emotional support, and I wholeheartedly support their approach.
How do you believe your photography can make a difference for them?
Photography can be a magical tool, but as with most other things in life, it has its downfalls. Recently I have noticed a trend with photographers documenting humanitarian issues. Their photography seems to be focused on the gritty, dirty, hard to swallow aspects of a situation. While this photojournalistic tactic may do the trick for grasping the public’s attention and getting people to understand difficulties they may otherwise be unable to relate to –I can’t imagine the outcome is as appealing to the subjects being documented. I believe my photography can make a difference because my focus is on creating collaborative works in partnership with my subjects. I aim to get everyone on board and happy with the way they are being portrayed to the public. I want to make sure the refugees I work with are portrayed to the public as they wish to be seen, with dignity --or more simply as they view themselves. In my experience, this switch to subject based photography can help re-construct mainstream narratives. Instead of presenting a condensed big picture which can often be misconstrued from an outside perspective, I aim to capture and share the variety of personal narratives that make up the bigger picture.
What message would you like to send to your supporters?
Support me in supporting Humanity Crew, or get involved yourself!
Stay connected to my work in Greece and follow my travels via Instagram: @chacha.m.hodges or through my website chachamhodges.com