Focus on individuals, not numbers

I am frequently offered assembly-line jobs, with a half-hour or less to tell some story to a mass audience. My mission and purpose are quite different: for you to go home feeling that you have spent

time naturally and authentically with the people you love, and that it just happened to be captured in photos.

Life has taught me to appreciate what is and to be happy in the moment. This is my story and what impels my photography. So I prefer to take fewer assignments and spend more time to focus on each

family's unique character, its secret harmony. I'm sure that many families want this approach, and that they will find me.

Join in rather than just saying No

Recently I was with my children at the beach, on the rocks. The ocean crashing all around, spray in the air, seagulls against the sky at sunset. The spirit takes in this beauty: wind, power, and colors!

From a distance, it looks dangerous. At any moment the waves could break over the rocks and drag you into the ocean! Other parents sit peacefully with their children, who dig in the sand and look wistfully at the wild surf. I'm with my children in the middle of it! Screeching with delight, jumping in the puddles, wind in our hair, eyes brighter than the setting sun...

Two days later they're still talking about the excitement, how brave I was to take them, how we all shouted together at the waves. 'Thank you, Mom, it was so cool to be there with you.'

Of course I howl with delight, seeing them so happy...

Make each day an adventure, put a coin into the piggy bank of memories.

Don't ask forgiveness if you're not sorry

I'm a forgiving person. I have no desire to judge, and keeping resentment is alien to my personality. There are too many other things I need to do. This doesn't mean, however, that the person returns to their former place in my life.

In the same way, I love to say "I'm sorry"

As an adult, after years of therapy, I learned how beautiful it is to admit to a loved one that you were wrong or weak and have them understand you, accept you. But I don't teach my children to apologize under pressure, because someone's forcing them. Society expects an apology to be automatic, reflexive. I don't accept that. It diminishes the immense importance of forgiveness, both for the one forgiving and the one being forgiven. There must be understanding and true repentance. I talk to my children and give them time to grasp what they have done, to feel whether they regret it. Do they want to make peace and be reconciled? If not, we need to talk about what great, important thing has been missing.

The world is in a hurry. We lose what is important, the essential slips away...

Appreciate it before it becomes a memory

I see all the people whom I recently photographed as part of happy families. I also see the ones who are now far from their families, I see their posts and recorded video calls. Just yesterday they were with their relatives, hugging their wives and children.

The albums I send to the Ukraine are all marked "HOME"

These are the last images of peace that they managed to capture. In difficult times, such images give indispensable support.

I no longer wonder about my mission or purpose as a photographer. It is clearer than ever before.

Be surprised at simple things

Every day I learn from my children to be surprised at simple things:

...the sunset;

...tea that is especially good;

...the sky;

...a fancy dress;

...our cat, purring on the doorstep;


People tell me this is what sets me apart as a photographer, that I see them as wondrous, as so beautiful that it makes them admire themselves, long after the photos are received. It's true. I marvel at the

beauty of simple things, places, relationships. Every person is a miracle.

This gives a basis to my faith in the world, my faith that all is for the best. It is why I thank God every day for my life, for the people I meet, for my safe return to home and family.

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