The inspiration for this book came to me one afternoon as I watched my son, Hudson, playing with his toy bus. I was trying to keep pace with his three-year-old mind as he got deeper and deeper into a fantasy involving nothing more than a yellow plastic box and armless figurines. At least that’s what I saw. He saw frantic commuters rushing to catch the 77 local bus to Australia. He jumped in place, mouth open and slapping his knees, joyously reacting to a world I couldn’t see, but one powerfully present for him.
What happens to this enthusiasm, this ability to be wholly present in the moment? Why are these pure moments of passion so often replaced with cynicism, boredom, and indifference? As I played with my son, I thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through his eyes. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life.
Shortly after playing “bus”, I attended an extraordinary dance performance, and I knew I had found my collaborators. Dancers are storytellers. They’re trained to capture passion with their bodies. The often create a fantasy world or offer us a deeper look into familiar settings. They bring to life what we feel but what most of us, lacking their artistry and athleticism, are unable to express physically. I spent three years shooting dancers around the country, and I was humbled by their enthusiasm for their craft. I would tweet and Facebook when I would arrive in a city, and dancers would volunteer their time to pose for me, often traveling several hours to participate.
I’ve created these images for Hudson and his little sister, Salish. My children are everything to me; my dreams for them are enormous. I hope they have long and healthy lives, find loving partners and fulfilling careers, and, if it suits them, experience the joys of parenthood. Most important, I want them to be free from self-consciousness, to discover the deep happiness that comes from a life filled with passion, and to find the serenity necessary to be truly present. These photographs communicate my dreams for them more powerfully than words: Relish moments large and small, recognize the beauty around you, and be alive!