If only they knew

I’m perched on the rail in the balcony overlooking the auditorium floor looking for the perfect shot when our eyes meet. His are furrowed and full of anger. He sees the camera and in my mind I see his disgust, because he feels violated. I don’t know this to be a fact, but the mannerisms – scowling, heading shaking. If he were a character in my novel he would be shouting expletives. My look is one of intrigue, interest, wonder and love.

You see I love each of these people and I pray for their safety. I am also well aware that I and many others are blessed, yet we are probably a few paychecks shy of similar circumstances.

As I capture pictureS it is not to exploit but to chronicle and put a face to a crisis this nation tends to ignore. I pass vacant structures regularly and dream of owning and rehabbing them so that no one has to call the streets of Cleveland their home.

I applaud the organizers of the Homeless Stand Down for bringing all of these providers to the community often forgotten. From food to medical care it is offered today.

Many I encounter wear the badge of anger yet many wear the light of the Lord because despite their circumstances they smile with Thanksgiving.

I pray today and everyday for an end to homelessness and I thank God for the opportunity to share a smile and an afternoon with my fellow citizens.

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Help-Portrait Cleveland needs you!

The joy found in this mom's eyes sums up the work we try to accomplish through Help-Portrait (Photo by Stephanie Briggs)
The joy found in this mom’s eyes sums up the work we try to accomplish through Help-Portrait (Photo by Stephanie Briggs)

We are gearing up for Help-Portrait 2015 and this is just one example of the joy we hope to bring to this year’s participants. We have photographers, hairstylists, make-up artists and barbers willing to volunteer their time to brighten the day of individuals suffering through life’s transitions.

In order to make this event a success. we will need the help of others willing to donate to aid in assisting with some of the supplies we will need. We hope that you will find it in your heart to contribute to this worthy cause. Join us by clicking here!

Smiles like this are what we seek to bring out as part of Help-Portrait.
Smiles like this are what we seek to bring out as part of Help-Portrait.
Who could resist that face!
Who could resist that face!

 

Thankful Tuesday: Cleveland’s Portraits of Hope

It’s “Thankful Tuesday” and I’m beyond grateful for the support I have been receiving for this year’s Help-Portrait event! After sending out a letter seeking volunteers and support, I have been inundated with generous folks offering to give their time and skills to aid in making life just a little brighter for those less fortunate.

The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.
The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs during Help-Portrait 2012.

If you’re not familiar with Help-Portrait let me give you a little background and I’m sure you will agree that this is a worthwhile cause! This project was founded in 2008 by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart and Kyle Chowning a marketing guru (my words) as a way to utilize the skills expertise and tools of photographers, stylists, and makeup artists to give back to their communities.

So, how you ask do you do that? Well, you gather up some of the aforementioned folks and choose a local group – church, shelter etc. where you will find a segment of the population unfamiliar with participating in a photo shoot and you set up mini-studios and begin to capture the beauty within these individuals. The best part is – you present them with a professional photo right there on the spot!

Santa visits with children during the 2013 Portraits of Hope at the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army
Santa visits with children during the 2013 Portraits of Hope at the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army

Now to really understand and have your heartstrings tugged in many directions click here, to see an early video that explains this movement much better than I can. After viewing this video, I wanted to see if we could make magic in Cleveland by setting up a Help-Portrait event.

In December 2012, I gathered a group of angels to help pull off our first Help-Portrait event and we have been going strong each year. We partner with the local Salvation Army’s Zelma George Women’s Shelter and provide each of the participants with their very own professional photograph.

This year for the first time we have barbers, stylists and several makeup artists offering their support and I’m certain this will be the best Portraits of Hope we have held in Cleveland as part of Help-Portrait. If you would like to be a part of this fabulous event, please fill out the form below and we will contact you. I guarantee you won’t regret it! Giving brings so much joy!

Finding beauty in the mailbox – One postcard at a time!

WEB_Postcards-at-work
Adding beauty to my workplace. A few of the cards found a home on my cork board.

Have you ever looked around your world and wonder, “What happened to the beauty?” I know that I find myself asking that question more than I like to admit, so I try to seek out beauty. It can be found in a face, a building renovation, the sun, flowers, beautiful blue skies. You just have to stop and look for it.

Well every year for the past five years I have been fortunate enough to receive that beauty in my mailbox as part of the annual Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap. The Swap is organized by Kat Sloma, an accomplished artist, teacher and owner of The Kat Eye Studio.

Through her site and classes she has amassed a group of artists, wannabe artists (that would be me) and encouraged us to release our fears and inhibitions by sharing the beauty we create with the world! That’s true awesomeness!

The inaugural card this year suggested childhood whimsy and read, “Always remember the simplicity of a child – Smile!” This card is the work of Maggie_Gem as she is known on Flickr.com. Click on her name to see more! Thank you Maggie!

A gem from Maggie_Gem, "Always remember the simplicity of a child - Smile!"
A gem from Maggie_Gem, “Always remember the simplicity of a child – Smile!”

Breezing in from California wine country was this beautiful landscape card created by Jasmine. Transplanted from New York, Jasmine takes photos of landscapes to “help me appreciate my new home.” To follow her adventures on the left coast pop over to Instagram @jasmine_sk. Thanks for the beautiful photo Jasmine and enjoy your adventures in Cali.

California wine country landscapes by jasmine_ck. Follow her on Instagram.
California wine country landscapes by jasmine_ck. Follow her on Instagram.

I’m an avid reader so I was pleased to see that Kathryn V. White shared her book cover as her entry into the 2015 LYA Swap! To learn more about Kathryn and Rumble Tumble Joy, visit her site here. Thank  you Kathryn, I look forward to reading your work.

Web_Kathyrn-White
When the sunsets on a perfect night the view is calming and vibrant depending on how you capture it. Many hues of red, orange and yellow are present with tinges of blue. Chelsea captured the beauty of this nightly treasure in the photo below, and I thank her for its beauty as well as her quote, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” To see more of her work follow her on Instagram – @chelsasaurus or her website here.

Sunset by Chelsea Rawson.
Sunset by Chelsea Rawson.

An aquatic beauty greeted me as I received my final participant postcard from sheiladelgado.com. I loved her quote from Brenda Ueland, “Imagination needs moodlng – long, inefficient, happy, idling, dawdling and puttering.” I can really relate to that concept when attempting to create! Visit Sheila’s site for more wonderful art.

Aquatic Beauty by Sheila Delgado.
Aquatic Beauty by Sheila Delgado.

From the curator of this wonderful event came the beauty below. The textures and hues make me feel warm all over – what about you?

Beautiful fall leaves by Kat Sloma.
Beautiful fall leaves by Kat Sloma.

I hope you have enjoyed the art I received and I encourage you to visit these ladies and bask in even more awesomeness and beauty. Thanks for stopping by.

~Until we meet again

Sweet Magnolia Blossom – liberating my art!

 

 

 

The 2015 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap

Postcard

Today is the final day of the 2015 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap and Blog Hop. I’m late posting and didn’t want the day to get away without at least acknowledging this small piece of awesomeness in the world.

Kat Sloma of The Kat Eye Studio is the curator of this project that brings a little bit of sunshine into mailboxes across the globe each year. If this is your first introduction to the Swap I encourage you to check out the details here.

Thanks to the Swap and Kat I now look at my photography as art, and albeit a slow process I am becoming more comfortable in that skin. Art is truly subjective and as creators of such we must become the first subject to appreciate the work we do.

The photo above is of my 2015 Postcard, and I can say that I truly love this print! Congratulations to Kat and more than 200 artists who participated this year!

Be sure to visit the link above to take in the beauty  and creativity associated with this year’s Swap, and stop back to see some of the art found in my mailbox this year.

Looking for the light – Help-Portrait 2014

 

The smiles say it all. This is the light we seek to find this Saturday during the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.
The smiles say it all. This is the light we seek to find this Saturday during the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.

In three short days a few Cleveland area photographers will have the opportunity to look for the light as they participate in the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.

This annual event is called Portraits of Hope and it is our desire to leave the approximately 20 families we will photograph with a sense of hope. A belief that despite their current situation things will soon turn around for them.

We are looking for that light or sparkle in the eyes of children and parents. The sparkle that says in this moment – Life is good. This is one of my favorite events of the year and I hope they can feel and experience the joy that we are attempting to share with them.

If you would like to share in this experience we will be at the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland’s Harbor Light facility 1710 Prospect Ave. from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Day 8 of 30 Days of Gratitude albeit a day late

I am grateful that I have this space to share what’s on my mind and that when I set a challenge I can alter the postings as needed.

Yesterday there was no way I could post after a very long and hectic day so I’m keeping my challenge by writing two posts.

Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)
Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)

This first post is about Phenomenal Woman Magazine. I have the honor and pleasure of serving as the editor of this publication, and I hope that this post will prompt you to check it out. Click here to check it out. Thanks to this publication I can also count Photographer as a job, so I am able to practice two of my favorite passions.