Surfacing

It has been a while since I have blogged or
posted. Partly because of a nasty flu right after our event in April, partly because my other work as a set still photographer has kept me busy, and also because of a little but of burnout! I think it is important to say that we all need breaks from certain things that are demanding of us, sometimes the most important thing is to do nothing at all! Oh, and also, I am moving!

But last night felt like I was getting back, returning to business as normal, resurfacing for that breath of fresh air! A great night with my C4C”wing-girls” Thea Grivakes and Gillian Harrow! First, a meet and greet with some amazing folks from The Compassionate Eye Foundation, Robert Brown , Susan McDonald, Rob Daley and Sue Dick! Then on to Dignity Vancouver 2012, an event in support of The Acumen Fund for Global Poverty, at Vancouver Urban Winery.

Getting back into the swing of Cameras4Change business confirmed that
It is easy to become overwhelmed in our world, and reminds me of people I have met working in field, very much over whelmed by the extreme poverty and life issues they have to face every day. It can mask any bit of joy or hope inside of you. It takes alot of effort to rise through that. The images and photos up for auction last night were a testament to lives living this way, very powerful and truthfully beautiful! It gives me hope to know so many of us want to see transformation, and that photography truly has the capacity to assist in change!

TAKE A RISK!

 I have definitely thought about it, the risk that I have put myself in when I work in field with some of my partners.  There have been occasions when I felt I was in danger, like putting a plan into place about how to deal with abduction, like the time we were robbed in Haiti, which sounds worse than it actually was, or the time I was being dangled over a 3 foot wide 50 foot  deep hole in the ground in Kenya by a very inebriated man.  Point being, I was putting myself into situations that were potentially putting me at risk.  The upside of that was the experience I had, giving me a better understanding, the people I connected with, and my connection to the world.  Beats staying home and watching tv!

So now here I am, the creator (along with some very dedicated people) of a non-profit, ready to put more endless hours of planning and creating a program overseas in Kenya for girls affected by fgm.  This is going to require many more hours of making plans, creating budgets, more meetings, planning travel, creating schedules,  more asking, more redefining plans, taking time from our families homes, and jobs.  Cameras4Change is not just a thought or a dream anymore, it is a full blown reality, a full time job that takes up a lot of space in my heart, head and life.  We all took risks putting the event together, would people come? Would they buy tickets?  Would they stay and participate in the silent auction? Would we run a great event that people will come back to next year? We believed in it, we got others excited, we got corporate sponsors excited about us, we got everyone willing to participate, donate time, services and money so that we can go forward and take even more risks. 

Every step of the way was a risk, but one that we were all crazy enough to believe in, one that we visualized and made happen.  Sure we spent countless moments of nail biting, and many sleepless hours of anxiety too, but we just kept on doing it anyway. We ignored the nagging voices in the back of our minds, the ones that we would never make a move with if we actually listened to.  I know it will be the same going forward, running a project will take huge tenacity, we will have to take many risks, albeit calculated, as we forge forward.  We are doing it because it is the right thing to do, and in life there is no such thing as “risk free”.  Every breath we take is a risk, every time we walk out the door, get in a car, fly in a plane, there is nothing that is certain except uncertainty.  We will learn more about ourselves, others, and, our world. We will feel better that we are active, that we are participating, that we are alive, that we are breathing and that we are living, really living.  That is life friends, take a risk, I’m telling you it beats watching tv.

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 In Haiti there was a healthy respect for the potential risks, we were told point blank before we arrived.  It is interesting to note however, that the largest cause of deaths among humanitarian and aid workers is traffic accidents.  In the short video below from India where it is common to enter highways and have to travel a good distance on the wrong side of the road…you’ll see what I mean!  I was in the car with @calamityjones’ Melanie Jones!

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Watch on Posterous

You will note a stunned silence, that is Melanie and I speechless after a near death experience!  Then my saying “good idea Ravi” when he returns to the correct side of the road.