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16 & 60

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I won’t lie; when I first reached out to Sebastian Rich I was nervous. An acclaimed photographer whose work I had admired from afar, he was seasoned and accomplished, with a stellar resume. When he agreed to collaborate with me on my project, The Catalyst,  I was overjoyed, but I still had no idea what to expect.

I will never forget sitting in the hotel room in Argentina, a day into my journey, having still not met “Mr. Rich” and getting a text from him saying that he would be there the next morning…“Dead on at 10 o’clock”.

“Dead on.”

I was about to embark on an adventure with someone who referred to meeting times as “Dead on”. I could already tell he got things done.

Soon, after meeting Sebastian, I learned that despite his gruff exterior, his love of life and joy was palpable. Any nervousness I had, disintegrated as I became so utterly exhilarated to have the opportunity to work with and learn from this incredible man.

What is truly remarkable about Sebastian is his passion to tell others’ stories, purely and clearly through an honest lens. Even after all the stories he has told me about his work in war-ridden countries, it is still so hard for me to imagine the combination of courage, passion for truth, and blind faith that it takes for him to run towards the blast again and again and again. This is the same fearlessness I saw in Sebastian as he strode into the subway systems with all his cameras out in the open, determined to capture the right moment in my interviews. This, despite the fact that just weeks earlier a friend of his was shot and killed only miles away from where we were by people who wanted to steal his cameras.  My passion for giving others a voice joined with his and bridged the rather large gap between 16 and 60, giving me not only an incredible partner, but also an even more extraordinary friend.

I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with such a raw, insightful, and fascinating man, and am grateful for the ways he inspires and will continue to inspire me throughout my life.

Emerson Tenney

Emerson Tenney

Emerson is a junior in high school. She loves literature and is passionate about writing, poetry in particular. When she is not playing the drums, participating in school musical theater, or training for marathons, you can find her with her friends checking out vintage records and used book stores in Hollywood.

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