Witnessing Those Less Seen

by henry lohmeyer

It may have been fear’s screaming that we’ve been hearing, I believe it’s time for love’s whisper to be heard.

We all live with trepidation over an edge we perceive. Often this fear closes our eyes to those who, like us all, deserve to be seen. It’s our fear that is screaming and it’s our fear that enhances that edge and divides us all. In this fear, in this projected shame, we dehumanize others and we dehumanize ourselves.

If we can take a thoughtful moment and realize that we’re actually—all of us—trying to be seen, heard, and reminded of our own humanity; that in the end, we’re all tapping on the shoulders of the world, hoping to be seen.

When getting sober seven years ago, the mantra given to me by many was a tender and thoughtful, “Stay in the middle of the boat. Stay in the nest surrounded by those that protect, watch over you, holding space until you are ready for the fearful, rejection-laced world.” 

But there came a time for me when that middle-of-the-boat sobriety was no longer enough, and what I really needed was far edgier than anyone ever advised upon. What I really needed was connection. I needed people to see me and love me just like this, mess and all… but more so, much more so, I needed to connect with people by seeing and honoring their cracked edges, their damaged parts, their harshness, and their will to rise, their will to become whole.

This is the Edge. It’s the place we move towards—away from the center of the boat. It’s where real connection happens. It’s vulnerable and it’s real. Although I’m a photographer, it’s not what I see that touches me, it’s how the moment makes me feel—how it reflects the Edge that so many of us live on. It’s there that we find the beauty in the brokenness, it’s there that we find our humanity, and it’s there that we find acceptance for ourselves and others. The Edge is where we’re hurting, it’s where we’re dying... we need to feel the edge—embrace the edge—it’s there that we can start to see the beauty in one another. 

That’s why I’m doing this project, and that’s why I need your help. 

I’m creating a book called Edge • France where I’ll travel to France and chronicle the life of some of the 250,000 refugees—men, women and children, living day-to-day, displaced from their native homes in order to escape war and persecution. Whether in France or elsewhere, it’s my goal to bring visual awareness to what’s happening right now, without filter, without judgement. Your support will fund the travel and creation of this project. 

While I cannot imagine the space they occupy, I have and will continue to lean into their stories, their brokenness and beauty. We all need a witness. And it’s my humble belief that this is where witnessing must begin, away from the middle, at the Edges.

I’d be so grateful for your support in creating Edge • France. Thanks for meeting me at the Edge. It means the world.