I’m a documentary family photographer. Most of my work is with families, in their homes, documenting their lives. And I really, really love it. But every once in a while, I have this irresistible urge to go.
To leave the country and photograph something completely out of my day to day. My husband calls it “a case of the wanderlust.” Thankfully, I’ve been able to do this at least once a year, but I always crave more.
This winter, my friend Kendyl emailed me and told me to pack a bag—she was taking me to Belize! She runs a non-profit organization called NomoGaia. She conducts human rights assessments all over the world, helping companies understand where they could do better. Her work is amazing, dedicated, and filled with a passion for changing lives.
I’ll never say no to an invitation to join her and photograph what she does.
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In Belize, she was investigating the Fairtrade sugar industry.
She had interviews with executives in their offices and at huge plants, some with small business owners in their fields, and others with field workers in their villages. We got to watch how the sugar is harvested, which was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. They literally burn down the fields.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
I had my camera with me, of course, and I couldn’t stop shooting. I was out of breath with excitement. I was chasing pillars of fire to get shots of the workers in the fields.
It was almost black outside, but next to the fire, I could make images of detail in the workers faces—sweat dripping off their foreheads, their eyes squinting at the brightness of the flames, the shadows behind them. Photographing different scenarios affords me the opportunity to push myself. It gives me perspective I could never gain doing the same thing, in the same place each day.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m always hoping for more. These photos remind me that I can do more and push harder in my work. They help me to see that I’m not one-dimensional and I don’t have to settle for comfort.
What are you settling for in your work? What are you not doing because you feel like it’s out of reach? I’d love to hear about any of your personal projects or goals in this area!
Guest post writing + images by Rachel Greiman.
About Rachel Greiman: Rachel Greiman is a writer and photographer in Denver, Colorado. She owns Green Chair Stories, a company dedicated to telling stories and showing people how beautiful their real life is. She lives with her giant dog (a 70-pound bernedoodle, named Bernadette) and her husband, (a 6’6″ man named Travis) in a small house in the city.