Nathalie Dieujuste, one of two black doctoral psychology students at the University of Denver, had only one black professor at Auburn. For a story in Monitor on Psychology, on the lack of racial diversity among therapists.


I made the Silver List, featured in Vanity Fair today. It was compiled from the suggestions of 125 photography curators, scholars, publishers and critics who were asked about work they loved and believed it should be seen more widely. More info in the Vanity Fair story.

The list is a partnership between the Silver Eye Center for Photography, The Black List, and Carnegie Mellon University.

American Photography featured a story on Private Fears today.


My fear comes from PTSD. I am 62. I was sent to California’s most violent prison for eight years for a non-violent marijuana crime. I left prison in 2008, but I am doing life without parole because my mind never left. I fear being incarcerated again even for a few hours, that could be the final straw. Right now, standing in the cold wind, I fear camping for the entire winter will kill me.

I am not afraid of anybody and that scares me more than anything else. That I may be forced to defend myself and harm another. It almost happened here in Golden where I camp because it feels safer, though I have never in my life hurt another human being.

Perhaps I am getting better. But my night fears are taking my life. Suicide on the nightly installment plan, I call it. I look like a horrible accident; you don’t want to look yet can’t look away.

– from the series
Private Fears


My biggest fear is never achieving honesty as an artist. There are so many accommodations we make to survive, expedient at the time but cumulatively make us lose our way. If I don't have the courage to make the sacrifices necessary to live a life of creative integrity, I'll live the rest of my life knowing I folded. I can't think of anything that scares me more than that.

– from the series Private Fears


I secretly fear everything. More so now than when I was on drugs, which would generally cause more paranoia than fear. I don't know what it is, but I'm constantly worrying about making other people happy. I fear how somebody might look at me, or not look at me. I fear I might say the wrong thing. I fear being alone, but fear people so damn much. I'm scared of hurting others, because I have done so many times in my using days. I'm scared of being hurt because I have been so many times. My head doesn't stop spinning and I'm tired of hiding, literally and figuratively.

– from the series Private Fears


From eighteen to twenty five, I worked as an exotic dancer. At times, I felt empowered and in control of the room, but as soon as something bad happened I wanted to get out. I felt stuck in a never-ending cycle of wanting to quit the industry, but not knowing how. I had to sit back and take every racist and dehumanizing action and word. Being sexually assaulted was what now seems an everyday occurrence, but I never spoke to anyone about what I had been living through. I always had to shake it off and give them some excuse. There was cocaine, dealers, pimps, prostitution, theft, and violence. I kept moving from club to club, even changing states, but it was the same. I suffered with anxiety, had panic attacks. I felt trapped up until the last day I danced.

I fear that if anyone knew all of my truth that they would judge me. I’m scared to admit that I was a co-creator of my reality, that I put myself in bad situations. I fear that working in such an environment did permanent damage to my spirit. I fear that I can't find another way of making money to support my life and family, and of being pulled back into the work through financial desperation. I fear admitting that I was addicted to a toxic lifestyle. I fear that my anxiety and depression will come back due to not healing from it, at all.

– from the series Private Fears


The thing I fear most is a relapse. I was addicted to meth and it destroyed my life. Now, I’m eight months clean and couldn't be happier. I know that if I relapse again, I will end up in prison or in a coffin.

– from the series Private Fears


My fear is falling back into my eating disorder – anorexia nervosa with a side of body dysmorphia. Just like a recovering or recovered alcoholic, it's something you work towards every day.

I had been going to the gym and eating healthier, then Covid-19 struck and shut down the gyms. Since I couldn't go anymore, I started restricting my food intake. I felt like I was losing control over my life and everything I was working towards, but I could still control what I ate. I considered it to be self discipline. The less I ate, the more in control I felt. When I did eat, I felt weak and unworthy, like I had lost some self-made competition against myself. I hit a couple of “milestones” before realizing I needed to get better. One, I was scared to take off my shirt for what I saw; all ribs, including my floating ribs, and my spine all the way down to the sacrum. Two, being able to see my heart beating through my chest.

It's been the hardest thing I've ever had to overcome.

– from the series Private Fears


My greatest fear is losing my mind and my family suffering through it. My maternal grandmother became schizophrenic in her mid-forties and my paternal great grandfather had dementia before the end of his life. I worry that I could’ve inherited either of those, or worse yet, passed it to my son.

– from the series Private Fears


I am afraid that one day I will remember my car accident. I have ten metal plates and thirty metal screws in my face, but nothing compares to if I could remember what happened. I was lucky to have made it, because the driver did not.

– from the series Private Fears


I fear that, at the end of my life, my body was created for nothing more than to be molested, abused, and raped. And that everything I am on the inside – all of my dreams, desires, and passion – is nothing compared to the pleasure I’ve given men that chose to steal it from me.

– from the series 
Private Fears


The military chewed me up and spit me out. I thought I couldn’t tell anyone about my sadness. I thought it made me weak. At least that’s what they told me. So I buried it all and with it I sank. What I fear most is that the thought of suicide will finally win one day. I don’t want to die and I’m scared I might lose this fight.

– from the series 
Private Fears


My deepest fear is that I am insignificant; that I do not matter. There is still a little girl within me that feels neglected each time that she is rejected or pushed to the side. After moving from foster home to foster home, you internalize the idea that you will never be loved as you are. When I am spiraling, I say to myself: "No one loves me, I do not matter, no one cares about me." Instead, I am trying to ask myself, "Who loves me? Who do I matter to? What makes me important?"

– from the series 
Private Fears


I am a 46 year-old man that has done almost 20 years in prison. I have beat a 20-year drug addiction. I am currently homeless, living in my truck with my wife who has cancer and our pup. I secretly fear never amounting to anything that is good. I try, I really do. I do good deeds when I can, yet I always feel like a piece of shit.

– from the series 
Private Fears


My biggest fear is being seen as unimportant or useless. There is a seemingly common misconception that brains, braun, and beauty cannot coexist. Because of this, I am forever doomed with having to prove my worth and capabilities - especially in a career field dominated by men. It isn’t that I am afraid of being seen as something I am not, it's a fear of not being seen for what I am.

– from the series 
Private Fears


My greatest fear is to be haunted, in the literal sense. Living in the presence and being affected by demons. This fear comes from personal experience, and lack of control and understanding only deepen it. I would call it a deep terror rather than a fear.

– from the series 
Private Fears


My greatest fear is that I’ll be very sick or in an accident and will no longer be able to provide for myself. That I’ll be completely dependent upon others yet there will be no one there to help me.

– from the series
Private Fears


My greatest fear is that my children will suffer from depression. They are 21 and 18, and although they are very independent, intelligent, and mature, I still fear it might hit them, like it did me. I lost my life when my depression hit. I lost my health, my job, my marriage, my family, my mind, my being. I know my children are strong and resourceful. But so was I.

– from the series Private Fears


I feel fear in my gut as a pit of despair, a pit that arises with inaction. The pit where I procrastinate every day until my life ends. This is my worst fear. The fear of inaction. Yet I am in paralysis.

– from the series Private Fears


Private Fears at the Baldwin Photographic Gallery
Installation of Keriba and Michael from the Private Fears series in the Trust the Story exhibit at the Baldwin Photographic Gallery at Middle Tennessee State University, juried by Melanie McWhorter. Special thanks to curator Shannon Randol, who had the distinct privilege of taking down the show, packing into shipping containers, and returning all the work without his normal staff of eight due to COVID-19.


I was a single mother of four children. At various times I've been disowned by each of them. Currently, my youngest daughter of almost 26 has disowned me to the point of wiping me out of her life. My greatest fear is that I will never see her again, hug her again, talk with her again.

– from the series Private Fears


Private Fears was chosen for the Center for Fine Art Photography's Portfolio ShowCase, as well as being the ShowCase Award Winner. Private Fears will have a solo exhibition at the center, pushed back to 2021 due to COVID-19. Much thanks to juror Barbara Tannenbaum, Curator of Photography of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and to Center director Hamidah Glasgow!


Liz Giorgi founded Candor Clause, an open source legal disclosure to help close the gender gap in venture capital in her Denver office. For The Financial Times


I’m afraid of falling into an Adderall addiction again. I’ve been clean for just over three months (after five years), but even yesterday when I was feeling bad about my body I thought about renewing my prescription. And sure, I could, but it might play out the same way; the whole bottle gone in less than a week. Awake the entire time, trying to lose as much weight as possible. Running thirty miles in the middle of the night, no food, aggressive dancing, hallucinations.
What am I really afraid of? The boy I liked in fourth grade said I had thunder thighs. My sister said I had a double chin. Maybe this amphetamine addiction was a roundabout way of trying to feel loved, to feel alive. So right now I’m nudging myself to accept the weight I’ve gained since I quit. I work as a nude life model for art classes, which is hard to do when I am at war with how I look. So I purposefully sought out my biggest fear and made it my job.

– from the series Private Fears


Talking about fears is always easier when you can hide behind metaphors and cute rhymes. But if you asked me about them, I'd tell you 'My fears rhyme with the word fraud'

I'm scared that deep inside, I'm just a failure hoping she can prove the world wrong.  Every moment of great confidence that I have is often followed by an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty and doubt. I fear that my efforts will eventually go to waste. That I will never be able to live up to the potential people see in me. I fear that one day, the world will see who I really am and at that moment, all I've built up will fall apart.

– from the ongoing series Private Fears.


Chica Barbie in Float Magazine

My series Chica Barbie is in Float Magazine. It’s a study of the conflation of beauty and attraction, the use of physical beauty as a commodity, and Faustian bargains, all in the context of the national mania for beauty pageants in Colombia.


Private Fears exhibited in China
Installation photos of The Relationship Show, curated by Patti Hallock and Samantha Johnston, on display in September at the Pingyao International Arts Festival in China. The exhibit contained five images dealing with the subjects’ relationships with others from my Private Fears series, along with works by Maureen Drennan, Laura Beth Reese and Matthew Swarts. Images are pigment prints with adjacent text within the frame, 24″x34″.


Palynn received the Director’s Award at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center member’s show, curated by Kat Kiernan, Editor in Chief of Don’t Take Pictures. After working on Private Fears for over two years, I began showing the project this spring and this was its debut on a gallery wall. More to come.


Palynn from Private Fears featured in Fraction Magazine’s 11th Anniversary Issue.


Private Fears featured in today's Don't Take Pictures.


The French photography magazine Fisheye ran a story on Private Fears in their March issue.


I was recently commissioned by Working Assumptions to do stories on pregnancy in the workplace. They ran a profile on my approach to the specific project and my documentary practice in general.


Amanda Villareal for Old Dominion Freight Line.


Amanda Gonzalez, for Common Cause.


Last night's Lunar Eclipse.


From a story on Cannabis Tourism in Colorado, for The Financial Times.


Chris Silkwood on Mt Parnassus, Colorado. The forest fires this summer make for hazy hiking. Chris is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. He works long hours and still manages to volunteer as a mountain rescue worker, dropping everything in a moment to save people stranded or injured at high elevations at all hours of the day or night, under often dangerous conditions. Last night, someone broke into his truck and stole all his climbing and rescue gear. There is no karma.


Piper Steers, for Sienna Moxie Consulting.


I thought I was an odd choice for a landscape design company, but ok. Everything I'd seen was about pretty splotches of color, but it quickly begins to look the same. But design is also about structure and texture, and I wasn't seeing that anywhere. So this was my solution to show how someone thinks.


On the slopes of Mt. Bancroft, at 6:30 a.m. This was not in the forecast.


Scouting photos for a recent shoot with Janine. If the background in the portrait is going to be a bit blurry, shouldn't the scouting photos be that way as well?


Marina came to the U.S. from Spain and has been living in a van for the past six months, traveling the country alone, looking for answers that are out there, or inside.  I believe she is still looking.


Outtake of Janine, part of the Private Fears series.


Zhanina Boyadzhieva and Juliet Chun, founders of Girl UNinterrupted, in Boston. For Architect.


Thomas Fisher, Director of the Minnesota Design Center, for Architect.


Nate Hudson at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, for Architect.


Pamela Sams worked on the design of State Department facilities around the world, the the corporate headquarters for the Human Rights Campaign, and the expansion of Dulles Airport. In Washington DC for Architect.


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on the morning of his annual State of the State address.


Shannon's boyfriend was murdered in front of her outside her house, as her screams for help were ignored. She still lived in the same place it happened as she waited to testify at the trial, despite several threats to her life if she did not remain silent. This is an outtake from the Private Fears series.


Frank DeAngelis was principal of Columbine High School during the 1999 shooting, and stayed on through 2014. He views the problem of school safety not as an issue of gun control, but the tendency of polarized factions going to battle every time there's a shooting instead of working together to find solutions. For Yahoo News.


Doreen Gehry Nelson, founder of “design-based learning,” a teaching methodology she that bring sopen-ended, hands-on projects to students of all ages. At her home in Los Angeles for Architect.


Richard Buday is a founder of the Houston-based digital arts studio Archimage, which counts the National Institutes of Health, IBM, Disney, and Nintendo among its clients. For Architect.


Chica Barbie chosen for THE FENCE, a juried outdoor photography exhibition highlighting 41 outstanding photographers from around the world. The Colorado Photographic Arts Center partnered with United Photo Industries, LoDo Historic District, and Continuum Partners to bring this national exhibition to Denver.THE FENCE will be installed as an 850 foot-long banner that will start at 1600 Market Street (formerly Market Street Station) and wrap around the full city block. The exhibition will remain on view through January 2018.  The opening is November 9th, from 4-6 p.m.


While driving under the influence of heroin and Xanax in the Chicago suburbs, Dana Smith fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed the center line and struck a man going the opposite direction on a motorcycle. During her four year prison term, she began working out and now volunteers for a fitness center for people recovering from a substance use disorder. When the art director from Health magazine gave me her address, I was stunned. She lived five houses down the street from me.


The strange silence before the solar eclipse, in the Nebraska panhandle.


Mo, near her home in Bailey, Colorado.


A pleasant afternoon at St. Mary's Glacier. Note to self: a little gaffer's tape on the metal camera body will keep it from sticking to the skin below your eyebrow.


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for Yahoo News.


Tania Salgado for Architect


Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, for Architect.


Renee Kemp-Rotan, urban planner in Birmingham, Alabama. For Architect.


Castleton Tower, Castle Valley, Utah.


The Pentagon, 9/11. I worked there for three years while I paid my way through college, so while I made pictures of the firefighters and the missing chunk of the outer rings,it was the view through the windows that really resonated with me. The inferno of jet fuel, metal ceiling lights, pipes and desks, all melting, rippling and dripping. It wasn’t hard to imagine being in those rooms, or in those that had simply vanished.

The twin towers had already been hit, but I was on my way to The Pentagon and didn’t even know they’d collapsed until hours later. I’d had to creep through some woods to slip past the MPs, trying to cordon off the area like it was a crime scene. To preserve the evidence. To reconstruct a timeline. A path of travel. What were they looking for, fingerprints? An entire airliner had vaporized. Soldiers falling back on the muscle memory of training, but no one imagined a scenario like this. It was early. We used familiar language. We observed protocol. We drew spurious parallels. When I finally got back to the newsroom, I saw a picture of the explosion from the second plane hitting the South Tower of the WTC and made an idiotic comment about the clarity of the image. I was on autopilot, feeling relieved that I found a place to develop my film when most of downtown DC had been evacuated. I confused professional detachment with compartmentalization and my own inability to grasp the enormity of what was happening.


Jerry Donley, octogenarian pole vaulter, for Beloit College Magazine.


John Medina is on a mission to apply neurology to the real world. For most of human history, we lived outdoors, seeking both the enclosed space of refuge and open vistas. He believes that for us to perform to our potential, we must incorporate both of these environments in our daily lives. Photographed at his home in Seattle for Architect magazine.


Inga Saffron, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist at the Philadelphia Enquirer, for Architect magazine.


Contrail, La Sal mountains, Utah.


Outtake from my shoot with Michael, part of my Private Fears project. To have a visual conversation about loneliness, it seems important to have other people in the frame; to be in the midst of others yet wholly disconnected. I lived in New York briefly, and it was one of the loneliest times of my life. Outside of work, I never spent a moment with anyone the whole time I lived there. But I can climb a mountain by myself and be utterly content. It's relative. I don't think of my work as being environmental portraits, in that the place isn't really part of the content, but the context can provide clues on how to process what we're seeing.


I left the house at 5:00 for an early morning shoot in a small town near Fort Collins. When I was about two thirds of the way there, it was called off. Not how I prefer to start my day, but being out in the prairie let me see this. So maybe not so bad.


Bernie Sanders rally.


Branding commission for designer Michael Grant


Launch campaign for Dispatch Health, which fuses house calls and telemedicine as an alternative to costly emergency room visits at a fraction of the cost. It began in Denver and is now in thirteen states. That nasty cut near the end is the work of a makeup artist whose credits include The Walking Dead.


Chica Barbie selected for Latin American Fotografía 4. Much thanks to the jury,
  • Marvin Orellana, New York Magazine
  • Leonor Mamanna, Bloomberg
  • Genevieve Fussell, The New Yorker
  • Diego Goldberg, Photojournalist
  • Dani Cattan, Curator
  • Adriana Terresa Letorney, Visura


Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado


Interview by the World Photography Organisation came out today.


Amanda Williams is an artist who explores cultural identity, personal history, and race.  She began painting a series of abandoned houses on the South Side of Chicago, in culturally historic colors of the black community: Harold’s Chicken Red, Currency Exchange Yellow, or in this case, Newport 100s. For Architect magazine.


Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss make up the Mexico City design firm Pedro & Juana. Texture and repetition of form are key elements in their work, and when I asked them for an example of inspiration, they took me to a food distribution center on the outskirts of the city. Produce arrives from all over the country in thousands of these hand-made wooden crates, stacked for reuse in what felt like a giant maze with tall walls, endless passages, and hidden rooms. We found one compartment deep and narrow enough to shield us from the midday sun. For Architect magazine.


Julie Kriegh is an architect interested in how man-made environments can shape human behavior. One example she gave me was stairs. We always read about how taking them instead of the elevator is better for our health, a small way to stay in shape integrated in our daily activities. It also uses less electricity. Yet most buildings we enter feature the elevators prominently, while the stairs are nowhere to be seen. If you can find them, they tend to be these dingy, fluorescent, concrete block environments you mostly want to avoid. Why not enclose them in glass, make the steps interesting, a welcoming environment. Make people want to use the stairs as the default, while making the elevators a little harder to find? Photographed in Seattle for Architect magazine.


Cedar Point Wind Farm, near Limon, Colorado.


Joe and Abigail




Ted Westervelt, incessant troll of Major League Soccer, for Howler.






Chicago Architect JinHwa Paradowicz, for Architect


Sharon Samuels at the Spertus Institute in Chicago, for Architect.




Archer 22 from POF - w4m - 26
I know we only talked for a day, but I felt like we were totally hitting it off.  I was ready to meet you.  You said I seemed perfect, and then your account just vanished.  What happened?
I thought you seemed perfect too. :)

– from Missed Connections




"I am emerging from a crossroads period of my life, where I fought to really find a core identity following the healing of a long-term mental condition. As a part of this, I found that my female personality clashed with my male gender. Up to this point, I had played at crossdressing, mostly at Halloween and such. However, this year, I decided to continue after the end of October. It represents both my gender and my personality, therefore it is my entire being."

I met John one evening in Laramie, Wyoming, when the thermometer was in single digits. He lives in a house with roommates and was too self-conscious to be photographed there, so we made the pictures in a nearby motel. He approached cross-dressing in a blank slate sort of way, making it up as he went, as if there were no existing patterns and it had never been done before.





In the past two months, I got married and I lost my brother.  I was dealing with a lot of competing emotions.  I wanted to celebrate my marriage and nurture the new family we were starting.  I felt relief that my brother was freed from his depression and alcoholism and that we as a family no longer had to wonder if or when he would “hit bottom,” but I was also ashamed of the fact that I could find something other than sadness in his death.  In the midst of trying to please and take responsibility for everyone around me, though, I really just felt exhausted and hoped that if I projected a sense of composure, I might find a way to feel it inside as well.


Denver Editorial Portrait Photographer

Denver based editorial portrait photographer
Website via Visura

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