Scenes from Bikini Atoll

Bikini Atoll is a place that many have heard of but few can locate on a map. Today, Bikini is synonymous with nuclear bomb testing, which the U.S. government conducted from 1946 – 1958, and women’s swimwear. And yet, for all of the people who proudly call these islands “home”, there are a myriad of complex emotions involved.

That’s because nobody actually lives there anymore. Nor do they feel like they can.

In fact, about 90% of Bikinians today have never actually been to Bikini Atoll. In 1969, the US began a lengthy process of cleanup and restoration of natural resources, promising that Bikini Atoll was now safe to repopulate. Finally, after more than two decades away, Bikinians began resettling back to a home that no longer resembled the island they once knew. Western style buildings lined the street and rows of evenly spaced coconut trees dotted the island — a somber reminder that everything they remembered about their home was either dead or destroyed. 

But at least they were finally home…or so they thought.  

In 1975, Bikinians received the heartbreaking news that their atoll was actually still rather unsafe to live, with “higher than expected” levels of radioactive contamination in the drinking water, soil, and food. And thus began the second mass exodus of Bikinians from their home. 

Today, over 40 years later, Bikini is a shell of what it once was and a fragment of what it could have been. Aside from a handful of maintenance workers who are on contract to stay on the island for several months at a time, there is nobody living there. All that remains are empty buildings and remnants of a dream that turned into a nightmare…

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The Young And The Stateless: Portraits of Rohingya Youth

Images of Rohingya youth living in Nepal, thrust into a world where no country is home and no foreseeable future seems promising. And yet, they continue to laugh, to hope, and to live each day without harboring any bitterness or remorse for their circumstances…as all pure hearts do.

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Back in Nepal after a year. Feels so good to be back in a country that grounds me physically and spiritually.  I will be spending my first week in Kathmandu before venturing…upwards. One of my routines when I’m here is to do a daily “kora” (or circumambulation) around the iconic Boudhanath Stupa each morning. Here are some quick snaps I’ve taken from my first couple of days of walking around Boudha.  

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The Scars of War in the Pacific

Exactly one year ago today, I arrived on the island of Tinian to work on a story about militarization of the Northern Mariana Islands. Once a major military hub for both the Japanese and the US during WWII, Tinian now rests in a state of apprehensive tranquility. The remnants of that war can be seen all throughout this small island (39 sq. miles), and heard in the stories of the elders here. Caught in a battle between two dueling superpowers, the people of the Pacific had little choice but to stay safe, practice patience, and remain faithful that one day they would be able to have a peaceful island life again.  

Today, it seems more important than ever for us to remember what these scars of war look and feel like for the people of the Pacific. And to remind the world that there are people here who call these islands “home”, people who have buried countless family members in the ground from the last conflict, and are fearful of the consequences that may arise from hot-headed world leaders with egos larger than their conscience.  

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Modern Day Voyaging in Micronesia

With the recent completion of Hōkūle’a’s epic voyage around the world and the release of movies like MOANA, Pacific voyaging culture is receiving an unprecedented amount of popularity and interest. This is great news for all of us who have been privileged enough to experience these voyaging traditions first-hand. However, the reality of voyaging in the modern-day Pacific is quite different than the idyllic picture that Disney has painted.

Today, almost all sea travel between islands occur on large ships, where passengers are crammed like sardines for days (sometimes weeks) on end. In the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, for example, where famous navigators like Pius “Mau” Piailug are from, there is still a connection to the voyaging traditions of old. And yet, the primary mode of transport no longer requires a knowledge of the seas and the stars. Each year, more and more young people are choosing to leave their islands on the “big metal canoe” for opportunities in more developed islands. What will become of these communities, once known for being the best sailors and navigators in the world?

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Life Along The Riverbanks

As a photographer, going India is like being a kid in a candy shop. The colors, the expressions, the sounds, the haze, and just the overall richness of life can be seen in every corner of this amazing country. Perhaps this is why so many photographers make repeated trips here; in fact, Steve McCurry, the legend himself, has made over 80 trips to India!

On a recent trip to India, one of the many things that fascinated me was the sacred relationship between the people and the river. It is no secret that people living in the Indus Valley region have relied on the river for physical and spiritual survival. Perhaps this is why there are efforts to officially recognize India’s rivers as living beings (much like the recent designation of the Whanganui River in New Zealand as legally equal to a human).

Here are a few images that help to encapsulate this relationship between humans and their sacred sister, the Yamuna River.




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Silhouettes from South Africa


During my time in South Africa, among all the beautiful and fascinating sights that I took in, I was most captivated by the people.  There is such a vibrancy of character in this country and I loved looking into the eyes of people I met to read their deeper story.  Another thing I began noticing was the beauty of posture and shape. I found that I could learn a lot about somebody just by looking at their silhouettes.  Here is a small collection of those vibrant stories, told through shadow and light.
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Ocean Therapy

It’s been a few months since I last stepped foot onto a voyaging canoe. I didn’t realize just how much I needed to reconnect again with the ocean until I got to join a training sail yesterday with some of my favorite people. I needed ocean therapy desperately. There’s something about the combination of wind, water, and teamwork that reinvigorates the soul. I’m so glad I was reminded of that again. Here are a few images from yesterday. Mahalo Hikianalia and my wonderful crewmembers/friends/ohana.



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Exploring the Landscapes of my Imaginary Childhood

Growing up in New York, I always had a yearning to run away and live in the woods. The romantic idea of being lost in nature and away from civilization started then and has remained with me to this day. However, instead of experiencing that feeling of escape, the best I could do was pretend to have a backyard that served as a gateway into the wilderness. I would imagine a world where I would climb each tree, name each rock, and swim in each river.  Books like “Where the Wild Things Are”, “My Side of the Mountain”, and “Bridge to Terabithia” (not to mention every Calvin and Hobbes compilation) helped to add color to this imaginary world in my head.

Last weekend, I visited the gorgeous woods of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State for the first time. It was here that I reconnected with that 7 year old dreamer I had all but forgotten about. After more than 20 years, I’m so glad to find a place that perfectly matches the imaginary wilderness of my childhood. Here are a few images from that trip:











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Manu’a – Part I (Village Life)

Manu’a – the outer islands of American Samoa – is the one place in the world I feel most at home and connected.  I love this place so much….the sights, the sounds, the smells, the smiles, and the amazing raw energy of the island itself. Last week, I got to spend a few days here to recharge.  Here is a glimpse of what village life is like when you are largely disconnected from modernity.



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