The Digital Journalist
Hank Sloane Thomas Reason to Stare

My life has been greatly influenced by both my parents' careers. My father has lived the most elaborate life, from being a soldier to a Black Panther to a physicist to a stockbroker to a real-estate developer, among other things. My mother is a photographer and art historian who has dedicated her life to the history of African Americans in photography. Hence, I believe in exploration and redefinition. My mother's interest in photography was passed on to me at an early age-at six I was rampaging through family photo albums and rearranging pictures. At twelve I began taking pictures, burning so many rolls of film that we barely had the energy to look through them all. I recall my mother saying, "Hanky, don't stare. It's not polite." I could never accept that it was not OK to stare. Now I recognize that photography is a means to justify my addiction.

I want to use images as a way to question who we are and on what we base our aesthetics and moral judgments. There is so much to learn from the world by simply stopping and looking. Capturing moments in pictures is a way for me to share my thoughts. In my portraits, I try to create a conduit for viewers to connect on a sublime level with my subjects-as if looking in a mirror, or at someone they love.