The Digital Journalist
Stephen Ferry
Arhuaco man plays indigenous music on an accordion, Mamankana, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. 2004
"As I was thinking which pictures to post in Jocelyne's name, I realized that her influence is as strong (or stronger) in my work now as it was 17 years ago when I was with JB Pictures. I put up photographs from a long project on several indigenous groups in Colombia, and how they are struggling to defend the rainforest and their culture from destruction. These people have a beautiful spiritual life, based on daily meditation, and their practices reminded me a lot of Zen Buddhism. I realized that I had learned to understand the importance of these people and their struggle, that I had come to a place where I would spend several years on such a story, thanks to Jocelyne.

On my first substantial story with JB Pictures, Jocelyne backed me fully on two trips to the Brazilian Amazon to document deforestation and the struggles of indigenous people in the Amazon to save their jungle territory. She got a guarantee from LIFE magazine that made the trips possible, she talked about the story to every editor she could, she pushed me to recognize the seriousness of the issue in all its dimensions. She sold those images (which were not particularly great in themselves) all over the world, over and over, just at the time that the environmental movement was taking off, and concern for the fate of the Amazon was growing. That was probably the only time in my career that I could honestly say that my images made a difference.

And Jocelyne introduced me to Zen practice. Actually, she ordered me to go to a zendo, very close to the offices of JB Pictures, to sit my ass down on a cushion, and try to become less restless. She was telling me to get past this superficial yearning I had to globe-trot, to cover breaking news, to go from hot spot to hot spot. That is, to get serious with my work and, I suppose, with my life. When I went to that zendo (which was so beautiful!) I understood what Jocelyne was telling me to do: Face your feelings. Don't hide. Commit. Slow down.

It was very tough medicine and she didn't deliver it with a sugar coating. I guess I couldn't handle so much life advice at the time, and I ultimately left JB Pictures (and immediately felt I had made the stupidest move of my life) to run around from hot spot to hot spot for the next few years. But the lesson she gave me, and the gift of Zen practice, has been with me ever since. I recognize it in my pictures and my choices, to this day.

I am so grateful to Jocelyne. Despite the rocky time we had over the years, she was a crucial person in my life. I only wish I had told her so before she left."