Can you talk to me about your experience in conflict transformation, how did you choose that path initially before venturing into photography?
One of the most influential mentors in my life, Patrick Hill, was my professor at undergrad at The Evergreen State College. I took a course with him called the Power and Limitations of Dialogue. He would always talk about how there is always a “region of validity” - meaning, everyone, everyone has a valid perspective - there is some truth in everyone, no matter what choices they make in life - good or bad. He trained me on how to see the truth in each person, no matter how different their views might be from my own. During the course of this year, our class took a training course where we became certified in conflict resolution. I loved being in the middle of the thickness, the confusion, the heaviness, the tension and the truth. I felt and feel so confident that I can really help transform people’s conflicts, no matter what they are; I know this might sound cocky - I don’t mean it that way.
I took some years off in between undergrad and grad school, where I focused a lot on building my relationship with my [now] husband, Baktash, and I traveled around the world for the second time. Life was getting old, traveling aimlessly after a certain point gets old - my father always pushed us to get higher education; he was always urging me to get my PhD. What I learned about CT was that it looks at conflict as an opportunity for growth and a catalyst for change.