Photographers familiar with the philosophy behind Crossroads will surely know the tremendous satisfaction that comes from planning, creating and donating photos to a non-profit. It’s incredibly gratifying to see an image you’ve donated used on a website, poster, flyer or annual report. You may never know the full benefit of your photos, but rest assured for many non-profit organizations a powerful story-telling image is worth its weight in gold.
For many of us, the first step of connecting with a non-profit can be intimidating. But it needn’t be. It’s not hard to find organizations that need your help. Just look around…what causes are important to you or your friends? What’s going on in your community? What tugs at your heartstrings and calls you to action?
Recently, I reached out to my friend Nicole, who’s been organizing a fundraising walkathon to benefit the Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Research Foundation. SMS is a developmental disorder characterized by abnormalities that are present at birth, as well as behavioral and cognitive problems. Nicole’s daughter, Abby, is struggling with SMS. Thus was born, “Abby’s Day Out”.This fundraising effort was conceived just a few short months ago during a discussion between two SMS moms. Through hard work, Abby’s Day Out quickly grew to over 300 friends, family and sponsors, all marching at a local state park to raise awareness and money for research into improving the lives of people struggling with SMS. The net result was an incredible day for our community, and over $40,000 raised for SMS research! For my part, I was a sponsor of the event but more importantly, I volunteered to be their photographer for the day. I’ve known Nicole and Abby for years. Nicole is a courageous and caring mom; Abby an incredibly sweet little girl who can melt your heart with her smile. I knew I could help by providing some worthwhile photos. All I had to do was volunteer. It really was that simple.
The day was filled with heartfelt speeches, families and friends embracing and supporting each other and a mile-long walk filled with laughter, tears of joy and many wonderful photographic opportunities. For most involved, it was a day that will never be forgotten. I did my best to capture the spirit of the day and tell the story of this wonderful event.
I worked to capture a variety of images, knowing this would help to tell the story later. Wide scene-setting shots, mid-range “meet the characters of your story” images and lots of small detail shots to help fill in the narrative. It’s helpful to keep this in mind when you are shooting, so you can piece your images together in post and successfully portray your subject’s story. The images you see here are a small sampling of what I captured and donated that day.
I don’t know how my images from Abby’s Day Out will be used, but I do know that they will help kids and families, like Abby’s, that are dealing with SMS. And that’s good enough for me!
So, until we meet again at a Crossroads workshop, I encourage all my fellow “Crossroadies” to find a cause, dust off your camera and do your good work. You’ll feel great. You will make a difference and you will change lives for the better.
Darin Reed is an avid photographer who dedicates his considerable talents to several non-profit organizations in the Long Island, NY area. He is also a part of the leadership of the Huntington Camera Club. Darin will be joining the Crossroads teaching team in 2017 for our Vermont Workshop lead by David Middleton. To see more of Darin’s photography and learn more about his work, visit his website, Shining Moment Photo. To learn more about important research on SMS, please visit the SMS Foundation.