Phil Borges

Scheduled to teach:

For over twenty-five years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books, which have been published in four languages, include Tibetan Portrait; Enduring Spirit; Women Empowered and Tibet: Culture on the Edge.

Phil?s project Stirring the Fire has produced several short documentaries, a book and an exhibition highlighting some of the extraordinary women worldwide who are breaking through gender barriers and conventions in order to enhance the well being of their communities.

Phil?s Documentary, CRAZYWISE reveals a paradigm shift that?s changing the way Western culture defines and treats ?mental illness?. The film highlights a survivor-led movement demanding more choices from a mental health care system in crisis.

Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic channels. An experienced lecturer, Phil regularly presents at universities, teaches workshops, and has spoken at multiple TED events; including TED in 2007, TEDxRainier in 2012 and TEDxUMKC in 2013 and TEDxSan Juan Island in 2015.

Phil Borges Portfolio

Julia Dean Interviews Phil Borges

LACP Founder and Executive Director Julia Dean asks Phil Borges ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography ?

Julia Dean: ?What kind of photographer are you?

Phil Borges: ?I consider myself a social/cultural documentary photographer.? I often refer to my work as storytelling for social change.

JD: ?How long have you been shooting?

PB: ?I started when I was 12 and have been creating images seriously for the past 30 years.

JD: ?Where did you get your training?

PB😕 I?m mostly self taught but took several classes at Napa Community Collage from a very inspirational instructor that got me started.? I?ve also taken several workshops through out my career.

JD: ?When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

PB😕 I got interested in photography while I was in dental school but did not devote myself to it full time until 18 years later when an incredible instructor turned my interest into a love.? I got swept away and quit my Orthodontic practice moved to another state and started a second life as a photographer.

JD:??Did you ever come close to giving up?

PB😕 It was very scary in the beginning.? Our son was just born and I had not completely found my photographic direction and I needed photography to support me.? I had purposely burned my bridges so I would not be tempted to go back to was safe.?? I just kept doing what turned me on (traveling to indigenous and tribal cultures and making portraits) and it eventually kicked in to support my passion.

JD:??Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

PB😕 Not really.? I sacrificed a bit of comfort and safety but that?s what made me feel alive.

JD:??What have you gained by being a photographer?

PB😕 It would be hard to mention everything.? In photography and storytelling I found an outlet to express what I feel passionate about.? It has taken me around the world with a purpose and taken me into worlds and cultures I would never have experienced.?? It has given me an outlet to create books, exhibitions, lectures and films.? My only regret is that I didn?t start earlier.

JD:??What classes do you teach at LACP?

PB😕 My class at LACP is geared to those who love photography and want to create bodies of work that make a statement and have a message.? I strive to give each student the tools and inspiration to find their voice and direction within photography.? There are so many directions you can take.? I know in the beginning for me it was bewildering until I found myself within all the choices and set my direction.

JD:??What do you love most about teaching?

PB😕 I love being with a group students that are fired up about what they are doing even though they might not be quite sure where it is taking them.? It is very rewarding to have the group energy help someone on the path to finding their voice and direction.

JD:??What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

PB😕 Whatever you do always have a project or body of work you are excited about–something that feeds your love.? Most of us have to make a living but if you do not find yourself (ie your Passion) within photography it probably won?t support you financially or spiritually.?? Don?t chase a market let your passion create the market.