Specializing in Faith & Religion
Columbus, Ohio, USA

Portrait by Michael Bou-Nacklie

I am a documentary photographer who specializes in faith and religion. Rather than focusing on worship and ritual, I use my camera to explore how belief intersects with daily life and culture. By illustrating the human experiences that transcend religious doctrine, I hope to generate greater understanding, empathy, and tolerance.

I often take an ethnographic approach in my work. When I have the opportunity, I immerse myself in faith communities for extended periods of time, which helps me portray their beliefs in a more nuanced manner. I see photography not just as a form of documentation, but as an opportunity for dialogue: a way to engage with others, to learn from them, and to form deeper understanding. The camera for me is a means of listening, of sharing a story rather than telling one.

I often collaborate with scholars and currently work as the multimedia content producer for the American Religious Sounds Project within The Ohio State University’s Center for the Study of Religion. In 2017, I received the Duke Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for my project, Test of Faith, which was published that autumn by Duke University Press/CDS. My photographs have appeared in publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and have been recognized by the Magnum/Inge Morath Foundations, the Lucie Foundation, FotoVisura, PDN, College Photographer of the Year, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, among others. I received dual Bachelor’s degrees from Northwestern University in 2009 and a Master’s degree in photojournalism from Ohio University in 2014, and I have spoken about my work at universities and conferences across the United States.

I also believe in the importance of empowering communities to tell their own stories. I assist refugees and immigrants in the arts, and I am the manager of the Fresh A.I.R. Gallery in downtown Columbus, which exhibits the work of artists who have been affected by mental illness and substance use disorders.

During my free time, you can usually find me swimming, playing with my Senegal parrot, or exploring the outdoors, where I use my camera to capture the uncanny, mysterious, and sometimes spiritual facets of the natural world.

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  • AARP
  • Associated Press
  • Binghamton University
  • The Charlotte Observer
  • Embassy of Iceland
  • The Humane Society
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • Pearson Education
  • Religion News Service
  • Rodale
  • Tanenbaum Center
  • The University of Chicago
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Washington Post
  • Yale University