My name is Gregory, and I paint with light.
I am also a documentarian-story-sharer of the hope, beauty and grace that is at work in this world. I meet people, interview them, and share their stories. I launched this pursuit in August 2015, have interviewed over 600 people, and yet in many ways I am just beginning. There are so many people still to meet, so many stories to hear. After I listen to every person’s story, I paint their portraits, so to speak, through my lens, striving to capture the light, texture and dignity of every person I meet.
When I first started photography in 2014, I was delighted to learn that in the Greek language, photography is defined as “drawing or painting with light.” I love light. We literally live, survive and thrive as a species because of light.
But light is more than simply a means to survive. It is also highlights the contrasts, contours, shapes, the designs, the artistry that is prevalent in our planet. And I am passionate about capturing these aspects, some obvious, and other times subtle and even hidden, throughout our Jersey Shore.
We can see the beautiful, sublime, and extraordinary ways light can illuminate life all around us, like seeing boys playing at a local beach…
Or by stopping to watch a sunset. It is like the earth is heralding something profound that we cannot quite fully apprehend with our limited senses.
But I also believe that light is something that can exist inside of people. Sadly, not every person has seen the light that dwells in this world, nor do they believe they can be a light themselves. Like the homeless man I met and talked with in the winter of 2016 in Atlantic City, who battled alcoholism.
I long for everyone to see that they have value, and they can have hope. But my heart breaks knowing that for some, the light has gotten dimmed to the point of not being seen anymore.
But that compels me all the more to do what I do, every weekend, to go out and meet people, interview them, and share their stories to the thousands that follow my work.
I desperately want everyone to see that every single person on this planet has dignity.
I believe we each bear both the image of the divine, as well the markings of the mortal. Each of us possesses distinct beauty as well as inherent deficiencies. It is my passion to hear the stories of people who are shaped by those contrasts, contradictions, and dualities. We all possess these inner conflicts, and it is in our stories shared that we can see that we have more in common than we think.
My calling in life is to reveal the dignity that is in every person I meet, in spite of these inner conflicts, by painting with the light I see in this world through the lens of my camera.
The more we observe the light refracted and reflected in each person we meet, the more we can point it out to others. The more we point it out to others, the more we can push back the darkness. I seek to do this with each story I share, each one a portrait rendered with light, painted through my lens.
Every story is an expression of all of our shared experiences, hopes, dreams, longings and joys. There’s no real distinction between us. We are all on this journey together.
This blog is an invitation to join me and the thousands of others who are a part of this amazing Portraits of the Jersey Shore community, in observing the luminosity that is in every person. One story, one portrait, one “painting” at a time.
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