I’ve had several opportunities now to photograph Former President Mikhail Gorbachev. Each time has been a venue where he has talked about his role in the fall of Communism in the USSR, now Russia. The first time I heard him speak about this was several years ago in Sacramento and can remember how impressed I was by his humanitarianism. This compassion for the people of the USSR was the main driver for him to lead a vision for democracy in the country.
20 years ago, the most visible symbol of the division between Communism and Democracy, between East and West, came down. An announcement that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions was the pivotal moment in the collapse of European communism. I can remember the photos of people literally dismantling the wall with sledgehammers, people freely crossing what had been a fortified border representing two halves of a country divided between itself.
The thing that’s been most fascinating to me during my photographic career is looking back at the times I had first heard about these people who are world leaders, global icons and I now find myself being given the opportunity to photograph them. I can remember having a very small view of the world as a Senior in High School and knowing nothing about the significance of these kinds of events, but as my understanding has grown over the years, it is exciting to me to be able to capture these people in photos.
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