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Friday
May042012

Art Saves

To write my book Elevate the Everyday, I had to go back. I had to revisit the archives of my life; of being an artist who found photography as the medium that fit and of being mother who used that medium not only as art, but as a lifeline.

Perhaps no better expression has been coined than Art Saves. Because it can. Because it will. Because it does.

The window to the past is funny. It comes in and out of view, with the curtains of time being blown gently back and forth, keeping the truth of what things really looked like faint and faded. But I don’t need to see it clearly to remember how it felt to be frighteningly out of control and overwhelmed. I still carry it with me. When it comes up (as it does from time to time) I am right back there to that place again. It’s like muscle memory of the body and soul. It’s uncomfortable and scary but I know that it will pass. It did back then, and it will again.

The beauty of looking back is tracing the path of how you made it from there to here; from then to now. For me that road is lined with photographs. Beautiful, poignant, celebratory, photographs that represent all the parts of my life that have mattered most.  Ironically enough, the stuff that felt heavy and overwhelming , I was seeing through my lens with a lightness and eloquence. Those images are like poems, recalling the past beautifully, hauntingly, authentically.  At the time, I’m not sure I knew how much my photography practice was pulling me out of a fog and shedding so much light. But I see it now. I give credit to my camera, my craft, for giving me vision. When, with the simple click of my shutter I could frame just a small snippet of all the life, activity, chaos, color, stimulus around me into one image and have that highlight something, anything that mattered to me at that moment, it gave me purpose, focus, perspective; all of which were and still are precious gifts.

Since then, a lot has changed (I have grown older as have my children for instance) and yet a lot has stayed the same. I am far from the woman I was 20 years ago but, I still can see the things that matter most, even if some days are harder than others.  I seek out and can find beauty in even the most mundane parts of my life and that helps me celebrate it all...through success and struggle. I have never been more aware that art— photography—saved me once and continues to do so every day.

Something tells me, you can relate. I would love to hear how art has saved you.

I'm honored to be a guest curator for a week of inspirational goodness over at Crescendoh, starting Monday, May7th. I would be honored if you popped over to say hello.

Monday
Apr302012

collective energy

It's been an inspiring week of making a difference together. The Shot@Life inspired #shot4shot project has been a huge success with shot after shot of amazing images that have helped raise awareness around this vital cause.

Personally, I have been inspired by the power (and satisfaction) of working together on this with so many great people. The further I travel down this crazy awesome super-highway (you know the one I'm talking about) the more I see my worlds all coming together in ways I could have never seen coming. From meeting and working with amazing activists at the Shot@Life summit, to collaborating with Kristen, to gathering friends both online and in real life to support the cause, to working closely with my teen-age daughter (Teens 4 Vaccines has been officially launched on Facebook), I have been delighted and inspired by how much good can come from togetherness. It's not that I haven't known it all along, but sometimes the power of it all takes my breath away. The money we've been raising is awesome and it affords more children with the vaccines they need!

Thanks to Paper Coterie, Epiphanie Bags, Shutter Sisters, and Green Mountain Coffee for their donations. Thanks to Big Picture Classesfor donating a percentage of Picture Black & White registrations to Shot@Life and thanks for Mom It Forward for their feature today. And last but not least, thanks to all of YOU. All of this support is deeply appreciated!

Today is the last day to participate in #shot4shot if you want a shot at the excellent prizes we are giving away. Don't forget to tag your coffee inspired images #shot4shot & #vaccineswork. We will be announcing the winners of all the amazing prizes this week as a thank you for joining us in raising our collective voices; vaccines work and all children everywhere deserve a shot at living a healthy life!

Please don't forget to shoot us an email if you participated in #shot4shot. I don't want you to miss out on the complimentary photo journal, courtesy of Paper Coterie. Today is the last day to submit a link via email.

I'd love to see your favorite shot from this past week. After all, among everything else, it's Best Shot Monday.

Tuesday
Apr242012

A serenade of childhood

 

Every child deserves a shot at learning childhood songs and every mother deserves a shot at hearing her child sing them.

Please join me and my friends in supporting Shot@Life! For some ways to get involved this week, check out the #Shot4Shot project. To donate please visit our Shot@Life crowdrise page.

Disclaimer: I should have done something about those bangs before I hit record.

Share the milestones today (bad haircuts and all) that mean the most to you.

Sunday
Apr222012

giving kids a shot at life

One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine. Can you imagine? Most of us can’t. But, that’s because we have access to the vaccines that keep our children safe from diseases that kill so many children in developing countries. How do we get these kids the vaccines that can save their lives? We support the people that work tirelessly on behalf of the mothers and the children that need it most. We advocate for the campaigns that focus on protecting children everywhere from preventable diseases.

The impact of immunization is powerful. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, improve health and ensure long-term prosperity. I am honored to be a champion for the United Nations Foundation’s  Shot@Life campaign—to help raise awareness about the importance of global immunizations and ensure that we decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life.

This week is Global Immunization Week and the official launch of Shot@Life. To kick off this important campaign, I am thrilled to be partnering with another Shot@Life champion, my friend  Kristen Doyle in hosting what we’re calling #Shot4Shot. This is where advocacy gets creative, effective, social & fun!

#mymugshot + #shotofcoffee = #shot4shot

CREATIVE: You are invited to join us for a week of coffee, creativity & giving kids a shot at life!  All week long we encourage you to share your mug shots (#mymugshot) of your morning shot of coffee (#shotofcoffee) with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and/or your blog. We cannot wait to see the images you capture and share with us for #Shot4Shot.

EFFECTIVE:  By brewing our coffee and steeping our tea in the comfort of our own home, you save time & money. We ask that you contemplate how much cash you spend of coffee out and about and consider donating that money you won’t be spending this week to making a huge difference in the lives of kids that need a shot at a healthy life.

SOCIAL: This week, we’re making #Shot4Shot a social endeavor! Whether that means sharing your participation through your social networks. The object is to turn our shots into shots by raising awareness about Shot@Life. 

I will be co-hosting the Shot @ Life Twitter party on launch day, Thursday 4/26 at 9am EST. Won't you join me?

And speaking of social, why not gather some friends together for a coffee date this week. It’s a perfect excuse to catch up with friends AND make a difference.  I’m hosting a #shot4shot gathering on Friday morning. The more collective energy we get behind us this week, the better. I’m envisioning a collective coffee meet ups this week (in person and online) where we can clink our cups, click our shots, and converse about how we can help give kids the shot at life they deserve!

FUN: Yes, it gets even better. We’ve got prizes from awesome sponsors! At the end of the week Kristen and I will be randomly choosing six shots from the #Shot4Shot participants to receive one of the following fab gifts, courtesy of our #Shot4Shot supporters:

  1. Big Picture Classes is offering away a complimentary spot in my next photo workshop Picture Black & White. And by the way, 10% of your registration fee goes directly to Shot@Life! So even if you don’t win but you register anyway, it’s a win/win. YAY!!
  2. We’ve got a limited edition Shot@Life Messenger bag. It’s adorable and awesome.
  3. Shutter Sisters is offering up a signed copy of Expressive Photography.
  4. Ephiphanie Bags has donated one of their coveted camera bags. Squeee!
  5. Keurig is giving away a coffee brewing system. Super-yum.
  6. Paper Coterie has offered a $100 gift card. Love their stuff.

AWESOME BONUS: I know, can you beleive this? Paper Coterie wants to help us thank all of you who choose to participate by givng every single person who shares a #Shot4Shot image this week a lovely photo journal. What better way to feature your own favorite photograph from the week? You help us spread awareness AND you get a gift. It's just so awesome.

We cannot wait to celebrate Shot @ Life with #Shot4Shot this week with all of you!

Requests:

*We would love for the Uinted Nations Foundation and all of their incredible partners to feel the Shot @ Life love this week. Please visit Shot @ Life on facebook and give them a like for us.

*If you beleive in giving kids a shot at a healthy life, like we do, please visit the Shot @ Life website and take the pledge! Your support helps so much.

*To donate to the Shot @ Life Campaign, please visit our Crowdrise page. The money you save by brewing your own coffee at home could give a needed vaccine to a child who wouldn't otherwise get it. And a donation of only $20 gives one child ALL the vaccines they need for a shot at a healthy life. Only $20.

*Beyond the #Shot4Shot hashtag (and if you're so inclined the #mymugshot and/or #shotofcoffe) please use the hashtag #vaccineswork so all that we share together is on the radar of all of the other people out there looking to give kids a shot at a healty life. There's going to be a lot of them! How cool is that?

*For your Paper Coterie journal code, all you need to do is send us an email with a link to at least one of your #Shot4Shot submissions and we will send you your code. Woohoo! Journal codes will go out following the #Shot4Shot week festivities.

Thank you so much! It's going to be a great week!

Wednesday
Apr182012

Thoughts on Being There

I am so inspired by the post from Kristin at Shutter Sisters today. About how important it is that we, as camera wielding women, include ourselves in the pictures of our lives. If we hold the camera, then we carry with that the responsibility to turn it around and reveal ourselves. Who we are as women. Who we are as creative beings. Who we are as mothers or daughters or sisters or wives.

In my soon-coming book, Elevate the Everyday: a Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood, I included a running thread throughout the chapters called Your Story. Kristin's post today reminded me of  these lines in my book;

Forget the tired eyes, extra pounds, and bad hair days. All that matters is that you are using your camera to bear witness to your being there...

Have you turned your camera toward you lately? Do you have proof of being there? I encourage you to to give yourself (and your family) the gift of seeing you.