The idea of the white hat as a symbol came to me as an epiphany. While travelling through a small village in Vietnam, I was engulfed by a procession of people wearing white. It became clear that it was a funeral and I was struck by the meaning of the white mourning clothes.
I have found that the white hat has long been associated with rituals, rites of passage, identity, virtue, protection and service. From a myriad of times and cultures, they have carried deep, powerful meaning. They connect to the sun, halo/aura, the infinite shape of the circle, and purity of the color white. In these images, I want to re-present an important, seemingly universal understanding of the human psyche and experience through the symbolism of the white hat.
Some examples of the head coverings I am photographing are:
• hats that identify a group or occupation
• prayer hats: link between heaven & earth, purification, goodness
• rituals and rites of passage or status
• crowns/coronas with some hats having multiple meanings and associations.
Beyond the visual image, primal vestiges of meaning are a common bond. These projects are important to me because they connect us to our humanity. In a world and time with so much to divide us, I hope these images might serve as a sign and reminder of what unites us.