I spent much of the last 19 years living in traumatized communities around the world while doing the work of our family foundation. I met the children in this book during those travels. During my family’s years on the road, our most transcendent moments came when least expected, from the joys and frustrations of sharing in people’s everyday lives. These photographs were born out of those everyday moments.
I chose to use only images of children because it is through the strength and hope in their young eyes that the power of the invisible sun is so compelling. I photographed them following September 11, 2001 until December 2018. They live in alleys, refugee camps, slums, and remote villages in Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Palestine, and the Tibetan Diaspora. They are orphans, child soldiers, and refugees. They are kids dealing with war, conflict, natural disaster, abuse, displacement, and the consequences of being born into unimaginable circumstances. I was face-to-face with them, making a connection that I hope is evident in their eyes.
The first edition of Invisible Sun was published in 2008. Eleven years later, I have refreshed this edition with new images from places that were okay a decade ago and now, most certainly, are not. Regardless of when or where I took these photographs, their underlying theme remains the same: hope isn’t just nice, it’s a game changer.
These kids face daily challenges that anyone with a heart would gasp at. But their resilience in the face of hardship can inspire us to do more, to do better.
When you look at these children, remember the power of the human spirit to overcome. When you look at these children, remember to be more thankful in your own life. When you look at these children, ask yourself, “Am I doing what I can to help?”
Everyone has to connect their own dots. Maybe the experience of these photographs will in some small way help you to connect yours.
“To see these children laughing is to witness the Invisible Sun made visible.”