These photographers have all found a way to give back with their time and immense talents.
- My way of "giving back" lately has been volunteering as a photographer for Operation Love ReUnited. (www.oplove.org) It's a great organization where as a photographer, you agree to donate a session to families or couples who have a member who's deploying with the military. After the session, the photographer sends a booklet of photos overseas for the military member to have. This photo is from my second session and I just love it! This little one's father was deploying soon, an it was wonderful to get to capture some sweet moments with the family.The photos and other content of this publication do not imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense.
- It all started with my own children. My daughter was born with Congenital Hypothyroidism and my two boys were born with a rare genetic disorder called Shwachman Diamond Syndrome. We have spent countless hours seeing doctors and specialists, having medical procedures done and lived days and nights in a lonely hospital room. There are multiple times things have been unpleasant about our situation, but I have always felt it was important to photograph all the details. Whether it's blood pressure readings or recovery from a bone marrow biopsy. I never want my kids to not know what happened to them. Because of my children, I became passionate about giving back to others who were dealing with illness. Over the past 3 years I have had the opportunity to photograph several families who are dealing with illness from cancer, to heart defects. I cannot tell you how fulfilling it is to share my time and skills with these families. I feel so blessed that I have been able to be a part of their story with my photography.An image of my boys from their last bone marrow biopsies in 2011. (McKinley Boys01)
- I learned about Amaya's story when my youngest son was in the hospital with pneumonia. She was admitted to the same floor we were on with an inoperable brain tumor. I got to spend a couple hours with Amaya and her family as she clearly showed us all that she was feeling pretty good especially after weaning off the steroids that made her swell up. Her smile is contagious!
- I volunteer through and organization called Operation: Love Reunited. http://www.oplove.org/ Op Love is an organization that connects military members and their families with professional photographers who donate their services in order to provide portraits either before a military member is deployed, or upon their return. I've photographed several families who have had a child born during the father's deployment, and the first time he is able to hold his new baby is upon his return, or at the 'fly-in' as it is called amongst military members. These sessions are documentary in nature and are so overwhelmingly emotional. I've cried at every one that I have photographed, some to the point that it was difficult to focus the camera! Seeing an anxious three year old tear across the tarmac and jump into his father's arms is something that brings even the most stoic military men to tears.
Emilie Anne Hendryx
- This shot, taken at the beginning of the year, is of one of my dear friends and mother of three (soon to be 4). She's a stay at home mom and the father is always off working hard in order to provide for their family. An hour and a half photo session isn't something they can afford at this time and, as part of my Christmas gift to them, I did a session for them. There is nothing better than to see the smiling faces of their beautiful children and know that they are captured forever on digital film. The tears in my friends eyes were payment enough. I think, as photographers, we all need to ask ourselves how we can give back to those around us. For those of us who are busier than others that becomes difficult, but a well placed auction or giveaway can help narrow the field down.
- I provide ANY photography needs to The Botolino Family, who have a 10 year old son battling pancreatic cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. I am available to them whenever and wherever they need me. I photograph all their family sessions and all fundraisers for Denali. I first met the family back in the Spring of 2010 when Denali was first diagnosed with cancer. He has now been battling cancer for just over two years and is currently at the children's cancer center at St. Mary's Hospital. He is very sick and pain management has been on of the biggest obstacles. To date, he has had over 15 rounds of chemo and several invasive procedures on his poor battered body. Denali has a large tumor that has not responded to chemotherapy. It cannot be removed unless it reduces significantly in size.You can read more about Denali Botolino here - his mom updates this group page daily:https://www.facebook.com/groups/109025382468566/
- Going into business was never about the money for me. Sure, being able to help support my family is a *huge* benefit, but providing memories for families who can't afford them, or are in crisis mode, or have been dealt an unimaginable hand was always, always my motivation. I've worked with several prominent organizations to give back over the last four years, but I've found the sessions I've done outside of those groups are the most rewarding to me. Usually they are a family that is somehow connected to a client of mine, and I hear about them with the realest of emotion, because their friends love them so. I'm hooked and invested from the moment I hear their story, and I work diligently to give them memories that will last long after their loved on is gone, or their crisis averted, when happy days seem so far away. I've photographed 20 week old babies cradled in their mother's arm. Families dealing with autism - bills stacked up from therapy needing a moment to see through my lens how amazing they are. A set of triplet girls I met as newborns, and photographed again when it was learned that one of them was likely not to make it to age two. A local photographer who nursed her mom as cancer raged her body in the final days before she was finally at peace. My photography has always been about the moments, the memories...I consider it my highest honor to provide those for *all* families, not just those who can afford me.
- this is nothing as important as documenting people with cancer and other life threatening illnesses, but i decided to give a portion of every family session last year to the UH Hilo's Bee Program, where Alan Wong is a big supporter. They are trying to find out how to keep our bee populations healthy and happy, and to rid the hives of the verroa mites and the beetles that are killing off our bees at an alarming rate. if we don't have bees, we don't have pollenated plants, and no fresh and local foods.we were lucky enough to visit the big island, and see the bees up close as well, even a chance to put on the bee suits and extract some honey, and i was able to get a few photos for the program and our scrapbooks!
- As a way to show my extreme gratefulness to those families who sacrifice day in and day out with a loved one overseas (something I am keenly familiar with as an Army wife myself), I offer free sessions to families of deployed soldiers. It's such a small thing, but oh how those soldier's faces light up when they get a photo of their spouse and children smiling and laughing. Leaving their families is one of the most difficult challenges our service members face. While they are off defending our freedom and helping others in need, they desperately need to know that their family back home is safe and happy. I'm blessed to be able to provide them with a small visual of that, and a reminder of what's waiting for them when they come home.
Two Birds Photo
- I volunteer as a photographer for my county Animal Control. This Animal Control, along with hundreds of others across the country, works devotedly with very limited resources to save as many dogs and cats as it is able. These are pets that, if not placed in permanent homes, or shuffled off to a rescue, will be euthanized. I have found that volunteering my time as a photographer is a service that is invaluable to them. The Animal Adoptions Coordinator uses my images to send pleas out to area Rescues and Humane Societies, as well as advertising them on sites such as Petfinder.com. A good photo of a dog, or cat, goes a long way in helping these deserving pets find their way into a loving family.Volunteering at the Animal Control is a rewarding and satisfying way to give back to both my community and to the animals themselves. I wholly encourage other photographers, both professional and amateur, to consider doing the same.
- I like to tackle small personal projects, and so when a co-worker came to me because a mutual friend was getting hitched without a photographer... I knew my husband & I *had* to be there. It was a tiny affair, but these photos have very special meaning to the couple.
- It's a portrait of an incredible 14 year old teenager called Ellie. It's from a series of images I took of her after she had her beautiful long hair cut really short. She sacrificed her amazing head of hair in order to donate it to a charity called The Little Princess Trust who create real hair wigs for children suffering from cancer. Ellie was inspired to do this by her own Mum, who is battling breast cancer herself, and because as a teenager she felt helpless during a difficult time. She needed to take action, to physically do something, so she set herself the challenge, gave to others and raised money in the process.
- A few years ago I was asked to help out with an American Cancer Society event and ever since I have been honored to be a part of the ACS Cure by Design Fashion Show. This last year I was able to photograph their featured model, Chris. This amazing man, along with his family, are fighting a courageous and difficult battle with cancer,yet they are the most loving, positive and inspirational people around. I absolutely love giving back to my community through photography. The value of quality photography to a family who is dealing with such a difficult time is priceless and to offer such a precious thing to them is truly an honor. Chris is currently fighting his battle and through his photos and his family's efforts with Team Chris, we have raised much awareness to his illness and disease. To help others is truly a blessing!
- My family is currently stationed in Ramstein, Germany. The military life can be challenging with TDY's, training, and deployments. It is a tough life at times, but moments like these make it all worth it. As a military spouse I understand just how important and special these moments are which is why I give back to the community and capture moments like these.
- I work with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a national organization you might know about that takes portraits of families who have babies who are still born, born "incompatible with life," and children or infants who are dying (not usually of cancer, other organizations do that, but who may have been in the hospital for a long time or are having their life support removed).Unfortunately we cannot show these photos to others, which can make it especially difficult to recruit people. But the images mean the world to the parents. And although every session is different, there are unexpected laughs and sometimes even joy, despite the sadness. And since the sessions are impossible to schedule and people are busy with their lives, we need to have a TON of photographers who are active in the network.We also have a hard time recruiting photographers because they are frightened that they won't be able to cope with the situations. But it is not nearly as hard or as sad as people believe that it will be. It's hard to describe--but I have done this for 7 year or so now and taken a LOT of sessions, you just know that you are doing something amazing for the family and it keeps you coming back.
Tim Massie / Mark Schilling (photo)
- I am going on a missionary trip with my church to a town in Western Nepal to serve the community and an orphanage. While this may sounds selfless, this project has certainly transformed from something that had a very limited scope (go, teach, interact and love on people, especially orphans) to a project that includes those things which I was going for previously BUT also includes digging deep into the lives of those we interact. Why? There are a few reasons, but the greatest of which is that I want to show people here (in the US) that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there is always a way out. A higher road. A road filled with hope. A road that causes us to all to search outside of ourselves for a meaning to life. The man that is leading the trip has helped to free 42(!) families out of slavery. Where does HE get his strength, his hope needed to continue his work? I want to get to the heart of this selflessness and share that with others.
p.s. if you submitted and you are not featured, i am sorry but we are only taking submissions that meet our size requirements — 600 pixels wide
with no watermarks. Please only submit 1 photo for the thursday posts. Thanks!!!