When hope & kindness unite
From the time I picked up my first camera nearly a decade ago, I knew I wanted to do more than simply take photographs; I wanted to really know and see beyond what was in front of my lens. I didn't realize it at the time, but the little tagline that popped up on my first website back in 2013, "Life Through the Lens of Hope" was a calling to step more fully into my own humanity, a slow but sure path to rebuild a worldview & faith that my previous church life had all but shattered.
In witnessing the highs and lows both behind & beside my camera-the full spectrum of unimaginable loss to the most tender and joyful moments- I discovered a different hope than the one I thought I knew. It's those moments over the years that have given me a clarity about my purpose in this creative work. Much like a photograph needs both the shadows and the light to create something we recognize on an intrinsically human level, there's a unique space and need for grief and hope and humanity to exist all together in this way.
And just like my dear friend's tattoo said, "But later you will understand," so it was, too, with this journey. There's no end destination- only a more profound way to love each other and ourselves.
Maybe the moment you see total humanity, in yourself, in others, is the very place where kindness and human connection begin. I’ve watched these very moments, both big and small, and all the beautiful and complicated ways we are human unfold through my lens for over a decade now.
My own path of honoring my humanity has been a windy one, never smooth exactly but rich in learning about myself, the world and how I want to love both better. Over the last twenty years, I started a kindness movement, deconstructed an broken faith and made a new one, walked towards old pain to heal a dear partnership/marriage/self, grew along with our four kids, followed a kid through a beautiful gender discovery and claiming, walked the same kid and our family through a cancer diagnosis, watched a business disappear overnight and be completely rebuilt through a pandemic, and left a beloved job to choose myself, maybe for the first time ever in my 45 years.
Somewhere in the middle of my own pain, joy and struggle and walking with others, I discovered there is great beauty in the dark, and true power in the light...and more importantly, that we are not meant to be in it alone.
My name is Patience Salgado, I am a kindness worker, compassion photographer and social impact artist based in Richmond, Virginia.