Cindy TsutsumiStories matter.

One of the most powerful ways we communicate is through the narratives we tell and are told. I’ve become “curiouser and curiouser” about how stories of all kinds can encourage people to make positive, practical, and wildly-innovative changes in the world around us.

Facts are important, but they don’t move us. Rational explanations make sense, but they rarely spur us to action. It’s the narrative – a story with a beginning, middle, and end and a current of meaning and purpose moving through it – that makes us remember and feel and act.

We find stories in the images that lift our spirits or move us to tears and in the novel or movie that lets us laugh and escape for a few hours.

It’s the unexpected story running through an article or paper that creates an “I never thought of it that way before” moment and makes us reconsider our worldview or moves us to unexpected action.

And if it’s done well, there are stories in the annual report or Website that presents a company’s financial status or brand message to their clients and customers.

For a long time, I felt my left-brain, logical side was at war with my right-brain, creative side. They seemed so “at odds” that I felt I had to choose one or the other. Finally (aha!), I realized the narrative element is a natural combination of my left-brain and right-brain approaches, and there has always been a story structure that runs through the many diverse things I’ve done and continue to do.

There is a narrative behind what I want someone to take away from an intricate financial report, and when I work on a Website, its visual and structural design starts and ends with understanding both the client and the customer’s story. The academic papers or feature articles I’ve written are pulled together by digging through primary and secondary research, seeing the disparate pieces, and weaving a narrative that tells not just the facts, but a story. Conceiving, shooting, and editing my documentary films follows the same process. And when I take a photograph or alter it to fit my vision, I create a narrative that can simply document or perhaps transcend a particular place and time or person.

So, I’ve discovered that no matter what medium or format in which I work, there are stories to be found. I love to combine words and images into artistic narratives that help people and businesses embrace their stories and live their vision, or maybe just escape and enjoy the experience. I feel best when I can explore and present new perspectives about ourselves, each other, and the world around us in ways that might entertain, enlighten, or even inspire.

By embracing my logical and creative sides, I’ve seen how these seemingly opposite qualities actually complement and strengthen each other when they’re recognized and used in tandem. Together, they make me smarter, more flexible, and stronger in how I approach everything I do.

As I find new ways to tell stories about the positive, practical or wildly-innovative people, organizations, and communities around us, as well as create images and stories that simply touch our emotions, I hope to “do good, have fun, and make money.” “Do good” by helping others find ways to feel and be and do their best. “Have fun” by using the skills and talents that give me joy. And “make money” to be as responsible and generous as I can possibly be.

This site is a new “work-in-progress,” so I’m still adding and moving things around.

Please take a look around. Here are some works I’ve had published, along with my resume. If you see a photo you’d like to purchase, or a story you’d like to know more about, or if you think it might be rewarding to work together, please let me know! Or if you’d just like to say hello, that would be wonderful, too!