Pam Perkins, Photographer - Artist Statement
When viewing my photographs in this exhibit, please imagine you are standing in my shoes, holding a camera, and looking at the same people I saw. Consider seeing beyond an unusual face or a striking pose. Envision their world. Focus on people’s faces, their posture and expressions. What do you feel?
One of my objectives as a photographer is to stir an emotion within you. I want you to have an awareness and a reaction to the people whose lives and environments are different from ours. Appreciation and sensitivity are key to understanding people’s different beliefs, perspectives and customs. This is how we build bridges across complex cultures.
The ability to step out of my comfort zone has been the guiding principle of my travel photography for more than twenty years, as I have explored places off the beaten path and focused on countries that are on the brink of change.
Once I began using a camera, my view of the world shifted. My curiosity grew. My vision went beyond just seeing a beautiful landscape or understanding a complex history. I saw a world that is much more about the human condition in its myriad complexities.
That’s when I knew I wanted to take photographs of people.
I am not afraid to approach a stranger. Communicating with a friendly greeting and a warm smile puts people at ease and helps me establish a connection, whether I speak their language or not. Humor can also help mitigate any tension or alleviate skepticism. I want people to enjoy connecting with me as much as I savor our interaction. I also convey my honesty about wanting to take their photograph.
Expressing sincere interest in the people I meet is my way to show respect, which is essential to establish trust. Respect and trust are necessary elements for my photographs to show people’s humanity and give them a voice to tell their stories.