Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers in the field.
As a documentary photographer, I believe my role is to be fully present: aware, patient and invisible. When I overthink the moment, the moment is gone. I love to study people and the way they interact with one another and with their environment. I wait for visual narratives and unedited human emotion to unfold.
I thrive on the element of surprise. I try not to go into a situation with a script or visual in my head when I am about to photograph. I will research as much as I need to and leave the rest to firsthand experience. I try to keep an open mind and allow the story to unfold as I tell it. Photography constantly renews my perspective on the way we live and who we are. This inspiration comes from the vast community of passionate photograhers and most importantly from the people whose stories I have the privilege to tell.
My focus has been mainly on the lives of women and children who have never had the opportunity to live the way they are entitled. I try to empathize with my subjects and bring to life moments in which I have strongly reacted and was able to document a meaningful image.
I utilize photography to bear witness on such global social issues as the environment, famine, drug violence, youth culture and poverty with the intention of suggesting empathy and/or social change.
I love the idea of photography and its power to communictate. It is, therefore, a tool I have to use responsibly. My intention is not only to shed light on their struggle, but also to present the full spectrum of their experiences and capture deeper, truer visual references that are distinct and personal.
There is more to see — something different and revealing and instructive and beyond the mere fact of suffering — something all around these women, men and children and before them and after them. Something complicated and not only "bad" but good and interesting and smart and alive and worth preserving. All lives, even those many consider wretched and deprived, are "lives" still and there is beauty and courage and, yes, even joy in them.
About the photographer:
Lisa Wiltse was born in Weston, Conn., and graduated from the Art Institute of Boston with a BFA in Photography. In 2004 she moved to Sydney, Australia, where she worked as a staff photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald until 2008, when she moved to La Paz, Bolivia, to pursue her freelance career. She has traveled extensively, focusing on documenting everyday life in marginalized communities in places such as Bangladesh, Uganda, the Philippines and the U.S.
Her work has been recognized by Photo District News, the National Press Photographers Association, the Sony awards, Magenta's Flash forward photographer and she was the recipient of The Walkley award in Australia. She was selected as one of eight photographers for Pour L'Instant in Niort, France, in 2009. Her work been published in The Sydney Morning Herald,The FADER, Time Magazine, Internazionale, Private photo review, The Sun and The Australian Financial Review.
She is currently working on a long-term project in Bolivia's El Alto, a poor sister city of La Paz, that could perhaps be the first large urban casualty of climate change. It is one of Latin America's fastest-growing urban areas. The majority of the residents of El Alto are migrants who left behind failing subsistence agriculture and disintegrating kin networks to make a decent living in the city.
It is so strange, I find, that every time you change your workplace, move to a better position or finish your contract with a company, you realize that you end up with the same people that you started with! I was working as a color stylist and a painter for animation and children’s books in my home country, Iraq. We started in Baghdad as a small group working in a tiny animation office. After that, whenever we found a chance, we got a better project or to tried an better place. We found that we always ended up together again! Even when we left Iraq because of the war, we were in Turkey working together in a cinema animation.
So, here I want to talk about a special artist who worked with me from the first year I started working in the animation field, 1998. We worked together at more than 6 place, in Baghdad, then in Turkey and now both of us in the United States, but in different states. Maybe we will work together again because it looks like destiny... The name of this artist is Yasir Salman. He is an animator and a character designer and if anyone interested in his work you can see it here.
We were thinking while we were in Turkey that we would be so lucky to be in the US, because it would be one of the most excellent places to have a chance at working in animation and graphics. We still believe in this and are running for the opportunity to work in American animation....
When fate/destiny exerts its power and decides to handle you roughly, in a moment you will feel as you have no arms and you cannot change anything. As you are worthless, all that you can do is watch, and maybe cry and scream.
Everyday, hundreds of people loose a member of their family in war. Is it truly fate?! Or is it human made, a human creation?
All the researchers say that humans are the greatest creatures in the world!
So I want to ask this question: Which is better, the human creature who has the desire to kill and fight others for no reason, or the animals for whom fighting or killing is only to eat and to stop the hungry feeling, to survive? The lion will never eat his booty unless he’s hungry!!!
Why this human hunger for wars and blood? Why does anyone think their group is better than the other one? Why am I better than you, or you better than me? What gives anyone the right to decide this?
A lot of questions, and I hope that someone will share some answers with me...