who am i?
My name is Cyrus, also sometimes known as the saltyviewfinder. I grew up in a family of half artists and half doctors or engineers. This, I believe, gives me an interesting perspective when it comes to my photography and my art in general, I enjoy most outdoor activities, especially backpacking, camping, and surfing, so these are the types of things I like to shoot. I also love traveling and roadtrips and so I love being able to capture the places I travel to on film.
Over the last couple years, I have become addicted to surf photography. Something about being able to capture such a unique moment on film - and light - just gets me stoked. You mind surf each wave as if you were on it, waiting for the perfect or most critical moment to press that shutter. Instead of infinite chances, you only really get one and that type of photography is something I want to bring back to surfing.
I am also working on starting a non-profit focused on provide clean water filters and systems to people in need around the world. Learn more here.
Why Film Photography?
Photography, especially, film photography, has been a creative outlet for me over the few last years. It helps me live in the moment, and truthfully, there are times I have found myself forgetting how to exactly do that. I get 1 shot, 1 out of 36 frames to capture that moment, through light. I can't take 1000 photos of the same scene and hope 1 came out. It helps me with being more intentional, which is an idea that has become more important for me.
Getting to know the cameras, the different film stocks, the surfers and shapers, and locations I shoot all adds to the fun. I hope to continue to push what I can show with film photography and to use it to tell a story.
MY STORY WITH WATER
My story with water starts with my first word, "Agua", well at least from what my parents tell me. I first became really aware of the world water crisis my junior year of university. While on a trip to Jamaica, while in the mountain towns, I noticed that their current way of collecting rainwater could be improved (Concrete slabs cut into the hillsides that funneled water, and everything, into rainwater basins at the bottom. While looking over the hillsides, i became consumed with that idea. I had just taken a class at school regarding water treatment and rainwater catchment and it really got me thinking.
Once I returned from the trip I was taking a summer writing class, where one of the subjects was to write about anything we wanted. So I wrote about the water crisis in Jamaica, which took me down hours and hours of searches regarding how the polluted rivers have corroded the limestone barriers by the sea causing salt water intrusion into the water wells in the cities. I dove deeper until I was convinced I could solve it somehow. One of my classmates read my paper and connected me to her friend that had a similar goal.
Her friend (Kevin) had started a project when his was in high school that set up Water Filters attached to buckets in schools and hospitals around the world. THIS WAS IT. I knew this was what I wanted to be a part of and help with. Now in college, he was having a hard time getting that idea started and I told him that I would help start this because this is an idea that I really believed in.
And so Club H2O was born. (a name that was just supposed to be temporary) An idea that turned into a reality and we were able to send filters all over the world. We could find travelers who were traveling to those locations and equip them with the tools and knowledge to use and setup the water filters. We partnered with organizations and provided disaster relief while giving presentations around school and other events about the impact that this system could do for people. We kept finding people and providing filters.
My senior year I was meeting with one of these groups that was going to Tanzania to setup a school. After talking with the non-profit (HSICF) director (Arthur), in his restaurant, about the mission and our goals he invited me to come along the trip. I said yes, got in the car and called my mom (heck yeah I did). A few weeks later I was in an airport, thousands of miles away, waiting for a Landrover to come pick me up. It was the middle of the night, I was created by a tall smiley man who grabbed my hand with both of his and shook, while his smile just got larger. (Elisante). In the Landrover that he lead me to I was introduced to my roommate during the trip. (Tony). The school was an hour drive away through various buildings made of various materials to then nothing but the dark sky and stars and moon that provided the needed light since the headlights barely worked. A few dozen impressive offroad maneuvers later, we made it to a school. Well the gate of a concrete wall that surrounded a courtyard of other concrete buildings. I set up my sleep bag and mosquito net on the floor, barricaded from animals by my bags and my roommate's bed,
That trip changed my life. I met an incredible group of people, all strangers to me, and was able to make a change for this small village in Arusha, Tanzania. The filters that I was going to give the non-profit to bring, I had with me and I was able to not set one up at the school, but we also walked to a village near by and setup another filter there as well. The impact, for me, was monumental and I just wanted to do this again, and again. It as also during this time that I was becoming more aware of other organizations that shared a similar goal. The more people that did this, the more we can make an impact. These organizations (WavesForWater, GiveCleanWater, FilterforHope, and more), just fueled my desire to want to make a change. I started thinking about different ways to do it, how I could improve it, maybe make my own filter, and I got committed.
Fast foreward to the "real world". Club H2O ended, my vacation days became limited or unpaid, and so my impact became bringing a couple of filters on the yearly trips I took with my brother, friends, or the non-profit. I was able to set up filters in Mexico, Bolivia, Bali, Cuba, and most recently Vietnam. With each trip the desire to do more increased as I could see how much these filters impacted the lives of people around the world. I knew this is what I needed to do and focus on creating - A organization that helps provide people around the world clean drinking water. But How?
As a billboard somewhere once said "Just Do It"
The most recent trip to Vietnam, along with some support from the Universe, really solidified that I could do it. With the support and motivation from the people around me I knew that I could make a change and make this project my full time focus. I also happened to be building my film photography brand (Saltyviewfinder) and figured that would be a good platform to use to bring aware, share my experiences (through film photography), and also help fund Filters and trips. The only limiting factor is how many filters we can get and how many trips we can go on.
FILM4WATER is the (permanently temporary) name of the the project under the (Future 501(c)(3)) SALTYVIEWFINDER FOUNDATION. My goal is to expand the goal from just water filters and film photography to schools, education and whatever is needed to help these communities prosper and grow.