As a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Lesotho '94-96), portrait photographer and lover of third world travel, I realized as I was returning from Southern Sudan in late 2011, that the reason I was passionate about global travel was not to see the sights of the world, but to connect with people of the world. Before my flight landed in Seattle, I decided travel was not necessary in order to meet the people of the world. I decided I would set a goal to meet, photograph and interview one person born in each country who called Seattle home. Each country subject would be the very first person I met from the respective country or one degree of separation. I did not vet to find the "best" subject as I believe every human is uniquely amazing and each would have beautiful life stories to share with me.
If the person was open to participating, a time was arranged to meet. I do not provide the individuals with advance questions to prepare for and I do not do any research about the subject to ensure each "interview" was conversational and the stories shared unrehearsed. Every meeting started with me taking a photo of the individual. I wanted to show the beauty and capacity for openness of each human that is innate, even when you are complete strangers.
I worked on the project for a year, but then had to back-burner the work due to my professional work. Every person I met with continues to hold a very special place in my heart that is as impactful as they stunning beauty they shared with me just after a hello was exchanged. Because of the random connections made because of this project my life was and continues to be enriched because of the kindness, brilliance, sharing and inspiration these individuals extended to me.
Because of my photography and family life workload, I was never able to fully share the stories with the public. It is my hope that I will find the time in the future and continue to share the importance of human connection that I believe is the most essential aspect necessary for societies find unity, equity, equality and happiness for all people.
-Tara Clark, Oregon born, mother of 2 boys, rock painter, disco ball helmet and ski onesie maker
Human Connectivity Conservationist