“We impress people with our supposed perfections, but we connect with each other in our flaws.” -Donald Miller
In a recent blog post, author Donald Miller talks about about no matter how much we change, we still feel like that rejected kid with whatever fill-in-the-blank shortcomings we had (or still have). Learning to love our flaws is key to healing, forgiving and living life fully. But it’s also a great way to connect with others.
This year at your Help-Portrait events, try connecting with others not on the basis of giving and receiving, but on the basis of your shared human experience.
We’re all flawed. And we’re all beautiful.
(Psst … Come back tomorrow for more information about Caitlin Crosby.)
This 27-minute talk by award-winning photographer Andrew Zuckerman at the 99% Conference is a fantastic case study on the process of creative work. In it, he share about lessons learned from his WISDOM project, in which he interviewed and photographed “elders” around the world, including Chuck Close, Bill Withers, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Massimo Vignelli, and many more.
“I have no idea what inspiration really is,” he says in the talk, instead describing the roles of rigor, curiosity, fear and hard work in the creative process.
In the closing minutes, he says success is in the doing and the most important perspective to approach work with is a learning attitude: “I need to be interested in the actual subject matter. I want to learn about what i’m doing while i’m doing it. that’s what keeps you going, what keeps you genuinely interested.”
How do you think this posture applies to Help-Portrait events?
In this UN photo, a Somali woman hands her severely malnourished child to a medical officer of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an active regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. Somalia is affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Here are some ways you can help:
Led by the Somali community, the Neighbors Initiative is a relief effort in partnership with the American Refugee Committee. Somalis are not waiting for handouts; they are leading the relief efforts on the front lines and abroad, working toward a better future for Somalia.
Click here to see an interactive map showing the drought in the Horn of Africa.
Josh Thome is a creator of the TV series “4REAL,” which features young leaders around the world addressing some of the most critical issues of our time. Josh, who’s also an Explorer with National Geographic, invites the Help-Portrait community to join 4REAL, Bono, K’naan and thousands of others in supporting the Neighbors Initiative.
More than 27,000 photos buried or blown away in the Joplin tornado now sit in a church room where volunteers sift, sort and clean them. Angela Walters, a genealogist in Oklahoma, posts nearly 1,000 of them a week on her Facebook page – the Lost Photos of Joplin. Nearly 500 photos, spanning more than a century, have found their owners, according to the Huffington Post.
“When a disaster happens, as soon as you hear a family is safe, the next thing you always think about is photos,” Walters said. “They’re irreplaceable. We can go back to the time and place and people we don’t have in front of us anymore. They’re the record of our lives.”
After Walter began the Facebook page, she joined forces with another similar local project, and then First Baptist Church in Carthage stepped up, offering their facilities and volunteers.
Other personal items like DVDs and letters are being returned as well.
Judy Lowe and her son, Scott, donated about 65 photos they found on their rubble-filled street. “All this other stuff is just stuff,” she says. “It’s the memories that count – and the photos.”
Rachel is working as our new project coordinator and we’re so happy to have her on board. She’s going to be helping us oversee our merchandise, video and website work, plus much more. She’s a photographer and newlywed living in Franklin, TN. Here’s a little more about her.
Who I am: Hi there! I’m Rachel Moore, a photographer/ newly-wed / recent grad.
Where I live: Franklin, TN
What I do: I’m a photographer who shoots portraits, weddings and musicians.
What I like: the outdoors (kayaking/hiking/parks) cooking, my husband’s band The Apache Relay, zumba, chocolate, sweet potatoes and french toast. But not all at the same time.
Where I network: blogs, pinterest and old-school facebook
What I’m most like in the morning: My hair is in a granny-bun on top of my head, dorky glasses, and coffee that I pre-set the night before to brew right before I awake.
I love the creativity here. Someone sent a package with a disposable camera on the outside and asked the postal workers to take a picture before they passed it on. The package traveled from Massachusetts to Hawaii. The recipient and sender share the resulting photos here on this blog. How fun!
What creative ways have you seen photography used?
Many of you no doubt are aware of the mobile app developer Jonathan Stark’s accidental “massive experiment in collective consumption and mobile currency” when he made his Starbucks card available to anyone. This post by Alex Goldmark from GOOD talks about how the national news story (in the U.S.) prompted more than 500 coffee drinkers to add (and spend) more than $8,000 through the card. Starbucks shut the operation down after tech entrepreneur Sam Odio hacked the card as an experiment of his own. Odio’s rationale was that the money would be better spent on a nonprofit organization like Save the Children, rather than going toward buying coffee for one another. (The card is currently for sale on eBay, and the top bid, which will be donated to Save the Children, is well above face value.)
“So predictably, the sharers went ballistic at the news that one man’s scheme had shut down the entire venture,” Goldmark wrote. “Odio apologized on his blog, saying he underestimated how invested people were in the project and how upset they might be when he threw a wrench in the plan.”
Stark was upset too, but sees a bigger purpose. He told GOOD: “If I had one goal it would be for more people to think like this and spawn more projects.”
And it has. At least three similar projects have been started, and Stark wrote on his site: “We’ve received hundreds of stories of people doing small things to brighten a stranger’s day: Paying for the next car at the drive through. Sharing a pick me up with someone who has had a rough time. Charging up a phone card and sharing it with strangers at the airport. The list goes on, and on, and on…”
It’s World Photography Day! According to www.worldphotoday.org, its origins go back to Aug. 19, 1839, when the French government announced the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Louis Daguerre, as a gift “Free to the World.” Learn more about the history of photography at Wikipedia.
(Creative Commons photo: Detail of Boulevard du Temple by Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre, 1787 – 1851: a man who stood still getting his boots polished long enough to show.)
This post by Seth Godin talks about the nature of giving, and how the intangible rewards earned from giving outweigh the investment. I think this sums up what we hear so often at Help-Portrait from volunteers and photographers who give their time and talent at the event each year. Here’s one example:
“Everyone has something to give, and there are many out there with needs that we can help meet. Events like this one teach us to smile, appreciate the little things, and remind us that to give is a fulfilling experience.” Nantena, Greeley, CO
Our friends at Halogen TV have a post up today featuring a panel of six humanitarian photographers discussing the role and evolution of the genre. Tony Cece, Gary S. Chapman, Rhys Harper, Douglas Klostermann, Bryan Watt and Kasper Nybo talk about recent innovations and challenges. They answer “How has humanitarian photography evolved over the last 25 years?” “How does humanitarian photography influence society?” and “What role does humanitarian photography play in furthering good causes?”
Here are a few highlights (read the full article here):
“I’ve learned that many of the people I encounter in Third World countries don’t want us to feel sorry for them.” -Tony CeCe
“It is not a good idea to volunteer for large organizations that have budgets in places for media.” -Gary S. Chapman
“I think photojournalism, even at the amateur or hobbyist level, played a huge role in the uprising earlier this year in Egypt.” -Rhys Harper
“A big evolution that I see is humanitarian photography now being referred to as an actual genre.” -Kasper Nybo
“Every humanitarian photographer, at one time or the other asks himself/herself, ‘Is my photography really making a difference?’” -Chapman
“Some Japanese tsunami victims said they felt as if ‘outsiders’ – the media – came and ‘stepped on their hearts.’” -Bryan Watt
What steps should photographers responding to needs take to ensure their work is helping, not hindering?