Jonny and Michelle Hoffner are boutique photographers known as Paper Antler who regularly give back through their work. They donate 10% of their earnings to She Dances, an organization that works to rehabilitate girls who have been victims of trafficking. “Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world; this is our stand against it,” they say on their site.

And they’re about to take a major stand against it.

They’re taking the entire year of 2012 to raise $50,000 for She Dances. They plan a coast-to-coast tour in which they fill photograph 50 weddings (one a week) and donate $1,000 from each wedding.

It’s a lofty goal they’re calling “Fifty Nifty.”

They’re asking everyone to get involved by:

  • Booking them to shoot your wedding in 2012.
  • Blogging/Tweeting/Facebooking about the Fifty Nifty.
  • Telling your friends, family and tech savvy children.
  • Contacting your local media for potential coverage.

We love seeing photographers finding creative ways to give back and wish them the best on this endeavor!

Posted on May 31, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

gov haslamSix hundred thousand Africans now have access to clean water thanks to Blood:Water Mission’s seven-year project, which was celebrated in Nashville earlier this month. Launched in 2004, Blood:Water Mission‘s first goal and campaign was to create 1,000 water projects in communities across Sub-Saharan Africa. They celebrated that goal with a concert at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium involving Blood:Water Mission’s founders, Jars of Clay, and friends including HANSON, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Kenyan artist Eric Wainaina & The Mapinduzi Band, host Charlie Peacockand surprise guests Brandon Heath, Christopher Williams and Matthew Perryman Jones.

The night celebrated the fact that so far:

  • More than 600,000 Africans in more than 1,000 communities now have access to safe water.
  • Tens of thousands of Africans have access to adequate health care through clinic, HIV/AIDS treatment & education.
  • Friends in the U.S. are learning how they can make a difference through creative grassroots efforts.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (pictured above), spoke at the reception and said his children first told him about the water crisis in Africa, and that he is proud to recognize the impact of the work accomplished by Blood:Water Mission.

The evening generated more than $100,000 in donations to further the work of the mission. Blood:Water also rolled out a new monthly donor program called Community:Builders to continue their ongoing efforts in Africa.

Learn more, donate or become a community builder at

Excerpts from this post first appeared at Used with permission.

Posted on May 27, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

(Photo by David DeHetre of the storm cell that may have produced the Joplin tornado.)

Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by this Spring’s deadly tornadoes, storms and flooding that have affected central and the southern U.S. The 2011 U.S. tornado death toll has now reached 500, according to The Weather Channel.

At least 124 people are dead as a tornado devastated Joplin, Mo., followed by another deadly string of storms in central U.S., which killed at least 13 people in three states, according to news reports.

More than 1,500 volunteers helping police, firefighters and other first responders got to work on Monday, looking for survivors. Aid continues to roll into the area as 1,500 people are still missing, and 750 people have been treated for injuries – in just the Joplin area alone.

Victims and recovery workers are still working around the clock to help victims in Tuscaloosa from April’s storms, and flooding continues to destroy homes and lives in the Mississippi Valley.

Here is a list of organizations who are on the ground or planning to respond to the victims of these disasters. Consider spreading the word or donating to help maximize their efforts.

  • World Vision: Text TORNADO to 20222 to give a $10 donation to the U.S. Disaster Response Fund for tornado survivors.
  • Samaritan’s Purse: Text SP to 80888 to donate $10 to Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief efforts on the ground in Joplin.
  • CrossPoint Church in Nashville is preparing to send volunteers to Joplin on Sunday. They’re asking folks to pray, give or go. Details are here.
  • Gleaning for the World (GFTW) has now shipped 54 tractor-trailer loads of emergency supplies to AL, TN, NC and TN to help storm and flood victims, with more planned. Donate online, text “GFTW” to 27138 to subscribe to text message updates, or follow @GFTW.
  • First Response Team of America is headed into Joplin. Each relief effort costs approximately $70,000—and every dollar you donate goes toward supplies for relief, getting a team to the affected area or saving the life of someone in need.
Posted on May 25, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • William Price William Price

    Also, Mercy Ministries is making doctors available.
    William Price | 26/05/2011 6:28 PM

Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the story of Help-Portrait and the unexpected impact it had on both sides of the camera. Illustrating how it began as a simple idea that spread to a global movement in just a few months, Jeremy reminds us all that giving within your gifting can change the world.

Posted on May 20, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments
Sleeping at Last

Fort Collins, CO. May 2010 Photograph by: Luca Venter

Sleeping At Last is an indie band with commercial cred. Having songs featured on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” the duo Ryan O’Neal (voice, guitars, pianos) & Dan Perdue (bass, pianos) originally formed in 1998 in Wheaton, Ill., and built a following opening for bands like The Appleseed Cast and Switchfoot. They signed to Interscope Records in 2002, but returned to independent recording six years later.

Last year the group decided to do something drastically different. They announced that beginning in October 2010, they would release three songs on the first day of the month for an entire year. Dubbing the project Yearbook, the collection is released on their website and is named after each month.

Halogen TV recently talked with Ryan O’Neal to talk about this new endeavor and also to hear about how they became involved with To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Here’s an excerpt. (Read the full interview here.)

What cause are you passionate about?
To Write Love On Her Arms is an organization that has been near and dear to my heart for a while. They offer resources and encouragement to people who struggle with addiction, self injury, depression, etc. I’ve had the privilege of performing songs at several TWLOHA events and to see so many hurting but brave people attend, in an effort to rebuild their lives; that is something very special to me. TWLOHA’s message is  “hope is real. help is real. your story is important.” and that resonates with me a lot. Other organizations that inspire me are: Invisible Children, Discover The Journey, First Response Team … all of which are doing incredible, incredible things… addressing such important issues head on.

How were you first made aware of TWLOHA?
Many people close to me have struggled with depression, addiction, etc. which is why TWLOHA quickly became something I wanted to support. I feel like they address issues that are seldom talked openly about. I met the founder, Jamie Tworkowski, about five years ago, at the beginning of TWLOHA’s story.

What’s next for you?
Well, there’s about four months left in this “Yearbook” project, which means four new EPs have yet to be written, recorded and released. After Yearbook, plans of touring will be sorted, so I am excited to give these new songs a home in live performance. And after so much consistent writing, I am sure that I won’t be able to go too long before the itch of writing new songs sets in again.

For updates and news on their monthly releases, follow @sleepingatlast and Facebook, where you can also hear some of the tracks.

Posted on May 16, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Jeremy Cowart’s ‘Reaching Down’ to Benefit First Response | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011 Jeremy Cowart’s ‘Reaching Down’ to Benefit First Response | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011

    [...] The Joplin photos and video footage in this video are by Cale Glendening, and the music was donated by Sleeping At Last. [...]
    Jeremy Cowart’s ‘Reaching Down’ to Benefit First Response | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011 | 07/06/2011 1:34 PM

In the upcoming Live Below the Line Challenge (May 16-21), individuals will eat on $1.50 a day for five days to raise money for Global Poverty Project and its charity partners.

Help-Portrait’s Jeremy Cowart is spearheading a photography contest this month to conjunction with the campaign. He’s encouraging amateur and professional photographers to photograph a representation, or interpretation, of what living below the line looks like to them. He’ll jury the photos and curate 10 of them for a special exhibition in New York after the winners are announced May 27.

“I’m excited to see what this visually represents to photographers worldwide,” Jeremy Cowart said. “Living on $1.50 seems unimaginable to our society, so for photographers to show us what that looks like is huge. I hope this is just another small step in changing our cultural perspective and priorities.”

To participate, visit and upload your photo. Submissions are open until May 22.

Posted on May 09, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

Jen MayJen May Pastores (@jenmayzie) is a photographer from greater Los Angeles who has been a total rock star for Help-Portrait. Her team’s efforts as Help-Portrait Los Angeles (@HelpPortraitLA | Facebook) have drawn national attention, thanks in part to celebrity friends who participated in the past two years’ events. In this post, we share about another way Jen May has given back through photography, and how you can play a part.

In August 2009, Jen May Pastores taught a free digital photography workshop to the youth of Tiny Toones Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. More than 50 students participated daily in the program. The workshop covered the basics of photography such as composition, lighting and finding good backgrounds for portraits. More importantly, the workshop encouraged students to exercise their voice in telling their story and how they see the world around them.

Jen May helped the students prepare for a photo exhibit where the student’s work were showcased at the Meta House in the city. “Each print sold fundraised for the center of Tiny Toones, as well as a percentage of the proceeds given towards the student of the print purchased,” she said.

Jen has since received support to tour with a series of photographs taken during that workshop, “The World Through Our Eyes.” She calls it “a vibrant statement by youth countering stereotypes of artistic, emotional and urban desolation in the developing world.” Contact her if you’re interested in hosting the exhibit in your city.

“In retrospect and speaking quite honestly, I feel as though my students gave back to me the most….Every individual student was such an inspiration to me,” she says in the video.

On her career as a photographer, Jen says, “What I believe to be most important in this career is to always make room to pursue personal projects …. Much of it has to do with knowing how you can use what you have for the better, but all of it has to do with living a life that matters to you.”

To see more of her videos visit jenmayzie. You can also follow Jen May on her websites, and

Posted on May 02, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments