IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD, I photographed faith-based linguistic missionaries as they embark on their heavenly calling. Their mission was to translate a Bible into the native language. In essence, it was a way to prepare, protect, and preserve indigenous innocence from the inevitable encroachment of the human play.


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John Chao Photography: Missionaries 1973

Ron & Kathy Binder 1973

MISSIONARIES Ron and Kathy Binder are linguists tasked to record the language of the Waunana Indians of Colombia and Panama. Their goal was to create…

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John Chao Photography

Wounaans, Panama 1973

The Wounaans are a tropical forest group of indigenous people dispersed along the border of Panama and Colombia. Originally part of the Choco linguistic family…

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Guajiras, Colombia 1973

La Guajira is Colombian’s northernmost peninsula protruding into the Caribbean Sea and bordering Venezuela with large dunes along the coast…

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Kuna Indians Panama 1973

Kunas of San Blas, known as Cuna when I visited in 1973, are a close-knit group of natives spread over 49 small islands on the northeast coast of Panama.

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Lomalinda, Colombia 1973

Lomalinda MISSIONARIES BASE IN COLOMBIA 1973 Related Decades A Year in the ’70s Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on whatsapp

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TRANSITIONING BACK The acquisition of massive amounts of photographs in the ’70s meant years of darkroom work. INCUBATING this vast…

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1980’s DECADE

INDULGING DEFIANCE: Photography gave me wings but also a sense of boundless creativity. This was a decade of independence, anti-establishment. It was a decade that avoided entrapment, both stylistic and accomplishment,. an era of exploration and renaissance.

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don't kiss goodbye