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J-Ward, A Visual Tour 📸

I have terrible anxiety. It's an affliction with its own gifts. It allows me to feel deeply. It's an

a good life

August 5 · Issue #11 · View online
I write thoughtful self-help

I have terrible anxiety. It’s an affliction with its own gifts. It allows me to feel deeply. It’s an undeniable force in my search for understanding as I try to make sense of the world. It’s a tax for being brave in life and love. 
This goes against the grain of ‘self-improvement’ we are constantly fed, but I believe our less desirable attributes also fuel the better ones. Two sides of the same coin. 
I have eschewed medication in favor of exercise, being in nature, reading, cooking, writing and now, photography. It helps, but some days it’s all I can do to grab my camera and walk out the door. Any sort of exploration is salutatory. 
The magic in photography is that it forces you to focus outside yourself, quite literally. On my camping journey last year it helped pull me out of grief (you can read about that here, and see some of my work from the trip). 
Pursuing photography has had another interesting side-effect. Everyone is turned beautiful through a camera lens. It’s made me rethink what is good and bad, and learn to find what is interesting, relevant and beautiful right where I stand. 
I live in a historic, African-American neighborhood that has experienced a long economic decline. Like most of Richmond, it is now on an upswing, something I have mixed feelings about. I like good coffee and pretty places to have a cocktail. I also value neighborhoods with mixed races, educations and incomes. 
I need no congratulations for buying into an up and coming neighborhood, but it does occur to me we would all fare better if we were regularly exposed to the problems of people unlike ourselves. 
There is blight, poverty, and people clearly suffering. There is rich history, and architecture worth preserving. There is the warmth of my neighbors.
There is me with a camera.

I took this shot at a street festival. It's a favorite.
This homeless man is at times more and less lucid.
A local barber who also gives the best hugs.
The homeless are often riding bikes.
Lots of hand-painted signs endure.
This was a lucky moment, the man posing just so.
Cities are often studies in contrasts as these two illustrate.
Les Amies
A barbershop that let me in to take photos. I am enamored of them.
Rebecca Thomas is the O.G. silver fox. She is usually pursuing ten different projects at once, and always dreaming of what’s next.
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