Wow! What a week it has been! Actually the last couple of weeks have been really busy. So the next few days I am hoping to catch up with all the photos I have been taking. Today I went to Cox Arboretum with the wild child and one of our village boys. But I have plenty of other pictures I have to address before I can even think about them. The oldest and her fiancé’s couples shower was yesterday. It was put on by his Aunts and Uncles and was just beautiful. But for this post we are going to focus on the photo shoot I did on Saturday August 23rd.
Back in 2010 I was working for the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC). This program does wonderful work within the community with very little funding. Which means of course that the people who work there work very hard, (and is one of the major reasons I ended up having to leave – fibromyalgia can be a real bitch) but the causes they work for have always been important to me. The Kinship Caregiver Coalition (KCC) is part of their work and each summer they host the Annual Kinship Family Fair. This year was the 7th time they were to provide free workshops, school supplies, shoes for the kids, and lunch for the kids, grandparents, and relatives raising these kids in their homes.
I was very honored to be given the opportunity to step into my old shoes and pick up the camera for CHC and photograph the event for them. I arrived there just before 9am to find the parking lot full, and had to park way out in the field. This excited me as I knew it meant a good turnout. So I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures as I walked up to the entrance. When I entered I was greeted by Dionne, the Director of the KCC with a big hug as we go back to when I first started working at CHC in 2004. She introduced me to Cindy who is the ‘me’ working there now, and Emi. Then I saw Adel who had been there when I worked there as well, and more hugs. I was then let loose with the camera and had a blast.
Before I tell you how this even affected me, I have to mention all the wonderful people who came together to pull it off. There were many volunteers who helped keep things running smoothly. The presenters, not only for the Kinship Caregivers, but for all the kids. All the sponsors who helped provide the school supplies and support the event, and Shoes 4 the Shoeless who came to the event bring a free pair of shoes for each child, and their volunteers.
But for me, as I wandered around I found myself connecting with certain people. There were children that I would see through my lens trying on shoes feeling sad and resistant, but then later full of laughter and happiness. To see the change, the joy, and to connect with them myself – what a wonderful thing. When I use to photograph these types of events when I worked at CHC I was doing other work as well, so I couldn’t just focus on the pictures I was taking. This time was different. So I could keep going back, and looking for that child to find that smile, to find that happy face, to connect with them. It was so different being able to put my total attention on capturing that ‘moment’.
I did learn a lot too. I learned some weak spots, and strong areas. I know places I need to work on, and equipment I need to work towards. I do feel more confident in myself, but that is the goal with every event I shoot, and every project I take on. So, thank you Dionne for helping me get back in the saddle again. This was a special day on many levels, and one I will not soon forget.
Here is the link to a gallery of just a sampling of some of my favorite pictures taken that day – Kinship Family Fair 2014