Kama’aina

from kama (child) + 'āina (land)

A Hawaiian word that means native-born; host; native plant; child of the land... Kama‘ainaisn’t so much about bloodlines and birthplace, but as about a fully intentional way to live. It’s about loving and respecting the ‘aina.

Maui, Hawaii is a volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean that offers exciting photographic possibilities with its widely unique green scenery and spirited individuals.

Visiting the island to volunteer in beach clean ups and turtle rescue and conservation, I could not pass up the opportunity to photograph what I saw. I knew that Maui would be a great place to create a documentary series with a simple Humans of New York type-of feeling. I set out on my journey, not really knowing what to expect. I desired to meet and capture the faces of the characters that crossed my gaze on a daily basis. Every subject that I photographed, I had a conversation with - whether it was lengthy or brief. I wanted to know their story; if they were born on the island, why they came to Maui. Everyday I was moving and on my feet, looking for my next subject to photograph, and finding the most animated and colorful landscapes.

I desired to explore and understand the islander’s personal interaction and impact with the land and water that surrounds them. Development on the island is something that I noticed quite a bit; the building of solar power and residential communities. Driving through the more quiet and less populated areas of Maui, I discovered old, scrapped, and abandoned paraphernalia (such as cars) scattered and tucked away within lush greenery. Pollution such as rope from ships and debris would wash onto the shores of beaches, and locals would haul it away to dispose of it. At the same time, I was amazed by green landscapes around parts of the island that looked seemingly untouched and natural - these places I felt a deep appreciation for, and I met many islanders that shared these same feelings.