What's your personality type?
I love personality tests. I take them rather obsessively, from the Gallup Strengths assessment to those little fun ones that pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. I usually come out as an artist, dreamer or logician and always as an introvert. But there was this one time (when I must have been in one heck of a mood) I was awarded one of the rarest categories (only 0.004% of the population) “Criminal Mastermind" and I was warned that my tendency to plot may end up leading to my downfall. But really, I do strategize…a lot...hmmm…
When have you been most satisfied in life?
In Israel. I have dreamed of going on pilgrimage to the land of the Holy One since I was a child. The faith and the history and the striking beauty will be with me forever.
Israel is followed closely by backpacking Europe. After my parents died I took some time off to explore. I learned so much. Grew so much. Healed some things. But most importantly, those five months became a defining period in my photographic style. The ripples of those days still show up in my work.
Travel is both a challenge, a call to grow, and a restoration.
What is the most significant photograph of your career?
Once I got to do a story about a young woman suffering from a type of epilepsy that caused her to shut down and fall over with no warning. Her mother desperately wanted the story told because they needed help raising funds, but the daughter was painfully shy and hated talking about her condition. My father had suffered from epilepsy. He was lucky and had been able to control his with meds, but I remember one time when he forgot them and had a seizure in public. Those memories helped me connect with this woman. And she opened up. We got the story published, and the community responded generously. The family got the funds for the operation to help her. Those photos changed her life. It’s been many years, and so many stories since, and yet, that is still one story that I am most proud of.
What five adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
Curious. Responsible. Wonder-struck. Loyal. Introvert.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare?
I love to cook. I love the colors and chaos of fresh ingredients. I would make Saffron Chicken with onions, mushrooms, garlic tomatoes, and spinach. Yummmm….
What is your theme song?
In choir one year we performed “Things that Never Die” based on a poem by Charles Dickens. The final verse is:
“Let nothing pass, for every hand must find some work to do.
Lose not the chance to waken Love.
Be firm and just and true,
So shall a Light that cannot fade beam on thee from on high
And angel voice say to thee,
These things can never die."
I have recently fallen in love with the The Porter's Gate: Work Songs. This is a collaboration between Christian artists coming together to create something a little different and deeply authentic. I love the entire album.
What one thing about you shocks most people?
I grew up in Saudi Arabia. My father worked for Aramaco (the Arabian American Oil Company) and we lived in the kingdom from when I was three until I was nearly 11. I love my mountain home. And I love to visit the Pacific because I constantly soothed and amazed by the power and the sound of the waves. But part of me will always belong to the golden desert.
What is the dream you are working toward for yourself, not connected to your career?
I want to step away from working for anyone else and do some photography strictly for my own soul. For years I have dreamed of "documenting the Holy Land" of spending one month in Israel with my camera. I am living that right now. I'm actually not sure which dream location I will aim for next. I love my work at the newspaper, but traveling is so powerful for me. I want to keep going...
I love lonely hours when the light becomes extraordinary
My parents created a tradition for themselves with yellow roses. To this day, yellow roses, not red , are my symbol of perfect love
I have no idea where how life will unfold, but if I get what I want now, Montana will be my home for the rest of my life.
I have been keeping journals since April 27, 2001. This is the best thing that I do for myself. I am currently in volume #81.
I am addicted to the the smell of lemon verbena.
I never saw the Northern Lights until I moved here. I could watch them for hours: endless fascinated, perfectly awestruck.