|A film by John Thornton in which Jim Spillane talks about the photographs he took in a brick factory in Nepal. The intense conditions of this arduous labor contrasts with the relaxed atmosphere of the Ocean City boardwalk, where Jim was exhibiting his work.|
"I used to think you didn't create a photo, you discovered it. Now I suspect you don't discover a photo, a photo discovers you. That is, you don't "take" photos, you receive them. Photography, like any art, can't be forced. It's an act of love for the subject.
Traditional people in the developing world are my love. When I look into their eyes, that is when I see real beauty. I try to portray them not as a stereotypical member of their group but as that individual, and through their eyes, not my western, middle-class eyes. Ordinary moments seem better than celebrations to "de-exodicize" an individual and show our similarities. Ironically, we are all similar because we are all different individuals.
In a prior life I was a criminal defense attorney in Alaska and California before studying photography under Ansel Adams and his assistant Marion Patterson. I then worked as an attorney with The White House. That made me wonder what human nature really was. Were we always this pushy and greedy, or was this a result of being so materially blessed (the more you have, the more you want syndrome)? The further back I go into traditional cultures, the further back I want to go. We were once very gentle people. " -Jim Spillane