There are a couple of central beliefs that push me to do my best work for people in my community. One of those beliefs is that if we all help out in the best way we know how, everything will work out better for all of us in the end. I am a photographer, of course, and a few of the things I care most about in this world are people and bringing to light the most magical part of their stories so that they will not fall victim to the common fate of being buried under all the hard/frustrating/bad/chaotic bits. I find various ways to give back in my community, and one of my favorites is as a volunteer photographer for the Oregon Heart Gallery.
The Oregon Heart Gallery helps match kids in foster care with forever homes. These kids each have their own story, and the best part is that I am now a part of that story! They have all had a difficult go of it so far and these kids, who range in age from just months old to teenagers, deserve nothing less than a fair shot in life. Some of them have siblings that they are lucky enough to still be living with, even in foster care, and others have siblings that are living in foster homes scattered across the city. Some have no biological family.
The coolest part about the work I am doing is that my mission is to capture the essence of these children and young people so that families looking to adopt can feel a connection with them before ever meeting them, and that when they do meet them they already have a head start at understanding each child as an individual. Once that happens, the next chapter of their lives can begin and they can start the long process of putting their past behind them. The toughest part of this work for me is that I am not allowed to share my images directly because of confidentiality issues. But I know that they are being used for the most noble cause, and I wouldn’t ask for anything more.
If you know of anyone who has a place in their life for a child who desperately needs them, the Oregon Heart Gallery is a great place to get started. I just photographed a ridiculously adorable baby this past weekend, and next weekend will be photographing twin pre-teen boys. These kids come in all shapes and sizes, and they all need stable homes and families (of any shape or size) that will love them forever.