ARCHIVES

WINNING THE ALEXIA FOUNDATION WOMEN’S INITIATIVE GRANT

October 17th, 2012

I was speechless when I heard over the phone, “You’re going to be busy for the next six months. You just won the Alexia grant.”

It took a moment to recover, to say thank you, but it’s taken a little while to realize the significance. Alexia is a well respected photojournalism foundation and they have supported some incredible work. To win one of their grants is a great honor.

That recognition is confidence-building, but it’s also four years of research, grant writing, and relationship building. It’s four years of reporting on human trafficking in southeast Asia. It’s another ten years of documenting the impacts of sexual violence on individuals and communities. And starting a non profit. It’s years of photography and developing my multimedia skills. It’s hands on experience with education, advocacy, and audience engagement.

All of this went into writing the grant application.

I recently gave a talk to local journalists at a monthly meet up. It was casual; a bunch of photographers and beers and a projector. My kind of thing. They asked me about the grant, looking for tips on how to get one. I picked apart my grant proposal, analyzed the application, and found that I had to go back to those moments over the years where I tried, failed, or succeeded, but each time I learned something. Something that applies to today.

Writing a successful grant isn’t just about the vision of what the end product will be or the budget required. It’s about knowing your subject inside and out, then crafting a strong story to carry it.

I won the grant. I’m still a little speechless. And excited about the work ahead.

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2011 CLIENT REVIEW: WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

March 13th, 2012

When I was in school and working as a photographer for the University of Washington Daily, the publisher (our adviser) introduced some of us to the communications department of the Everett School District.

We would shoot hand-rolled Tri-X film, process it in the Daily’s darkroom, make contact sheets on paper we bought, edit it, and submit for client review. Once the images were chosen, we’d scan the negatives and work the images in Photoshop. It was a great arrangement; given our experience we were reasonably paid, but what we learned was invaluable. It was an introduction to contracts and corporate communications, with a reliance on our growing journalistic skill.

Last year, I received an email from Karri Matau, one of the people from the Everett School District’s communications team. She now works for the Greater Everett Community Foundation. It’s a great job: give money away to partner non profits in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. (above: Inside a juvenile detention facility where the foundation supports an art program. They are my first client to use iPhone images in an annual report)

Reintroducing herself by email, she said:

“I googled you to see if you stayed in the field. I am breathless by your portfolio and work to date!!!”

“We have a story to tell and a need to help our community celebrate and rebuild hope for the future,” she continued. “Interested in helping do some photo shoots with our grantees to “capture” our story for our annual publication and for our breakfast celebration in Sept?”

“I have hired a lot of photographer for day shoots and I’m just not pleased with the lack of emotion and energy in the shots.”
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DOCUMENTING “PRISON PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE ROAD” WITH PETE BROOK

December 10th, 2011

With an eye toward prison reform, writer and academic Pete Brook analyzes prison photography from behind his desk. After three years, he decided it was time to get out, on the road, and meet the people he’d written about. Especially the prisoners.

Pete is clear that he isn’t a photographer. Instead, he writes for Wired.com’s RAW File and runs his own blog where he dissects photography about the prison system in America. I knew him peripherally through the photo community and through introduction several years ago by a mutual friend. I like what he does, so when he put out an ask to help make a Kickstarter video, I offered to shoot it and Seattle Times staffer Erica Schultz edited it with Pete in an 11 hour binge.

Prison Photography has built a community over the years. There’s no money involved, so for Pete to get on the road, he had to ask for help. The Kickstarter campaign began. By using social media and crowd-sourced funding, he successfully raised more than he thought it would cost to make the grand American tour, meeting photographers in person, visiting prisons, and seeing education programs at work.

Click here or below to read more and see a scene cut from the video.

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NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

June 20th, 2011

During my morning ritual of sipping coffee and going over the news, RSS, and social media feeds, I saw a post at The Digital Naturalist. It’s a profile on charity: water, an organization successful at generating buzz, getting people to donate, and then going out and securing clean water for communities in developing countries. It’s a simple concept, with a simple message, and it doesn’t hurt that its founder, Scott Harrison, used to be a promoter in NYC.

Tucker Walsh interviewed Mo Scarpelli, of charity: water, about the non profit’s messaging. For the non profits and NGO’s out there, I think the take-away is that charity: water emphasizes how important communications and social networking are to its mission. For instance, they have leveraged a new communication tool to become, they say, the first non profit with more than one million twitter followers. Tweeting can be much more effective, and is much less expensive, than direct mail–or even email.

The story of charity: water – The 2009 September Campaign Trailer from charity: water.

I can’t definitively say that charity: water is leading the way, but it’s a good example. The organization has raised millions in a few short years, holds creative and well attended events, has made some excellent partnerships, and helps average people get involved through innovative fundraising models. Additionally, with the help of substantial private donations to cover operating costs, the organization can commit 100 percent of public donations toward direct services (building wells).

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, fundraising, multimedia, NGO, non profit, technique, work of others Comments Off on NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

AIRING ON LINK TV: SREY NETH, CROSSING THE GENDER GAP

March 15th, 2011

Several months ago I entered the Link TV ViewChange contest, looking for another means of distribution for a story I felt needed to be told. As a finalist, I found Srey Neth’s story would see the distribution I hoped for. I think it is a great example of independent distribution leveraged by social media.

Yesterday, Link TV told me they’ve compiled half-hour episodes from the ViewChange entries. Srey Neth’s story will air in the “Crossing the Gender Gap” episode.

The film will air Wednesday, March 16th at 8:30pm PT/ 11:30pm ET and Saturday, March 19th at 6:30pm PT/ 9:30pm ET on DIRECTV 375 / DISH Network 9410. Srey Neth: Victim to Survivor will be part of an episode featuring inspiring stories of women fighting poverty, disease, and oppression in the developing world.

The film is also available to watch at Hulu.com/viewchange and Link TV is planning to disseminate my film through other outlets as well such as Snag Films, WGBH’s “World” Channel (which is carried on 150 PBS stations), and other international stations.

Many thanks again to Transitions Global and Srey Neth who offered me access and their trust to tell an important story.

www.linktv.org/programs/viewchange (where the “Crossing the Gender Gap” episode will be available online, starting later today)
www.viewchange.org/videos/srey-neth-victim-to-survivor (Srey Neth video on ViewChange.org)

@ViewChange (twitter)
@LinkTV (twitter)
facebook.com/viewchange
facebook.com/linktv

And don’t forget my Facebook Page and Twitter Feed!

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, articles, award, coolness, events, human trafficking, media, multimedia, publishing, recognition, social justice, video Comments Off on AIRING ON LINK TV: SREY NETH, CROSSING THE GENDER GAP

REPORT ON CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE DELL, INTEL, MICROSOFT, APPLE, ETC. PROACTIVE?

December 14th, 2010

The Enough Project released a report today on consumer electronics companies and conflict minerals mined in eastern Africa.

The Enough Project is evaluating tech companies as they begin the process of tracing minerals to their source. Following a previous post, I had an email exchange with “sjobs@apple.com” (which may have been the man himself), where the respondent said:

“We are looking into it. It’s not clear how to trace the minerals so as to know their origin. We are working with a few world-class universities to see if we can trace them. The supply chain appears too porous to control through auditing.”

Why is this important? Jonathan Hutson, Communications Director with Enough Project wrote:
“Minerals…in our everyday consumer electronics, are used to fund militias in the Congo that rape and kill thousands of civilians…Our company rankings let consumers know which products are moving toward conflict-free status.” (below chart courtesy Enough Project)

chart_ranking_electronic_companies_on_conflict_minerals“While some companies,” Hutson wrote, “such as HP, Motorola and Intel, have made some progress towards using conflict-free minerals, we found that the industry as a whole is way behind the curve to become compliant with the Frank-Dodd financial reform act and the upcoming SEC regulations on conflict minerals.” (see Section 1502, Conflict Minerals)

Responsible sourcing has been done with the apparel, forestry, and diamond industries. Not for every company, but at least consumers can now make an informed choice. I think tracing minerals is a necessary step toward ending conflict and I, as a consumer, would pay a premium for conflict-free.

Read “Getting to Conflict Free: Assessing Corporate Action on Conflict Minerals” in PDF.

Read the summary here.

Any scientists or data crunchers want to comment on the methodology of this report and quality of the data?

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, conflict minerals, human rights, human trafficking Comments Off on REPORT ON CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE DELL, INTEL, MICROSOFT, APPLE, ETC. PROACTIVE?

ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

November 11th, 2010

This came through FaceBook, and was first released on the Arc’Teryx website, a company making high end technical outerwear, harnesses, backpacks, etc. that is kind of like the Mercedes Benz of the outdoor industry. They also support film projects, like “The Season,” a series my friend Fitz Cahall produced with Bryan Smith.

This is a ski film with purpose, says the website, and you can see it in the six minute trailer. Since I think I’ll actually be in Seattle this winter, it got me thinking of some skiing. Lu, even though she’s only alpine skied one day in her life, is going to give the back country a shot. (I’m excited).

Back to the film. Skiers and alpinists are seeing the effects of climate change first hand. This film purports to hook in outdoor enthusiasts and skiers alike with all the action, then deliver a message about being responsible and doing not just something, but “All I Can.” I like some of the techniques in this trailer; they use a lot of time lapse, slow motion, and aerials, plus have some well-timed cuts to the music. I have to say, after my time working on multimedia production in NYC this spring, I look at films much, much differently now. Blessing or curse, I’m not sure…

I hope they do a good job with it. Not just the ski-porn part, but the message as well. Speaking of which, I just read an article in Outside about Jeremy Jones of Jones Snowboards. Looks like somebody grew a conscience.

Anyway. I don’t do big mountains, but I’m psyched to ski the back country this winter, and I hope this film gets others psyched to do all they can for the environment.

(Looks like Arc’Teryx had all videos pulled down except what was on their cover page. Too bad you can’t embed this version. Click through to their website for the trailer.)

Picture 3

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, art, coolness, movies, multimedia, outdoor industry, technique, video, work of others Comments Off on ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

Media: Walter Astrada’s Project on Violence Against Women. Location: India

October 1st, 2010

MediaStorm_UndesiredI watched producer Eric Maierson sorting through hundreds and hundreds of images by photographer Walter Astrada as he did the initial work for the newly released MediaStorm piece “Undesired.”

Not only is Maierson an excellent producer, having watched his two pieces “Three Women” and “The Party,” I knew he had the voice to produce Astrada’s strong work. I only regretted I wasn’t working on the project, and that I would return to Seattle before having the chance to meet Astrada in person, when he came into the MediaStorm office.

I have much respect for Astrada’s work, particularly his portfolio from Guatemala. It is strong, visceral, and pointedly focused on the issue of violence against women. Having extensively worked in this field myself, I appreciate another photographer’s dedication not just to a single story, but to the issue as a whole.

In 2009 he won the Photojournalist of the Year NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism. He won in World Press Photo in 2006 and in 2008.

Read about Astrada, his work, and how he does it, online at the British Journal of Photography here and here.

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NY TIMES: ACID ATTACKS IN CAMBODIA

August 26th, 2010

In early 2008, I visited the Children’s Surgical Center on the outskirts of Phnom Penh at the request of one of its US-based supporters. I was working for a few NGO’s while in Cambodia and using the time to continue my personal work on human trafficking. At the Center, I found a woman who recently had acid thrown upon her. I forget the circumstances of the attack, but her grand daughter was also covered by the indiscriminate spray, and had already died. The woman was feverish with infection, her breath rapid and shallow, and the doctors fought a losing battle. Blood transfusions seeped out of her damaged skin faster than they could replenish her fluids. Her adult children watched over her, fanning her, slack-faced and in shock. A few days later the woman died.

I had heard of acid attacks before, but hadn’t thought about it in Cambodia. Although barely quantified at the time, readily available acid in Cambodia’s violence desensitized and traumatized society meant acid attack was an increasingly common method of settling disputes or seeking revenge.

Not long after I met the acid attack victim in 2008, I visited the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity to photograph the survivors who were making a new life for themselves. Although horribly scarred, I found the women engaging, fun, and full of vitality.

A couple of days ago the NY Times published this piece on acid attack in Cambodia.

Click through the jump below for images from my visit in 2008.

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TRANSPARENCY AND THE CONFLICT MINERALS IN OUR PHONES

July 31st, 2010

I’m typing on an Apple MacBook Pro while data backups are running in the background; gigabytes of images and video are flitting from Seagate to Lacie to Netgear hard drives. I have a Belkin router, a Comcast modem…I have all the accouterments of technology I need to capture content and publish in a digital world. What I don’t have is peace of mind.

I’ve spoken about and written about this before and, increasingly, so are many others. We are talking about conflict minerals, those metals essential to the electronics industry and our everyday conveniences. These metals also pay for ongoing war and sexual violence. As a consumer, I feel powerless to affect such a global issue. But, it is becoming easier to see how our role in the killing and what we can do to stop it. Like many things, it starts with transparency and accountability, through knowledge and conversation.

Jobs_EnoughProjectApple CEO Steve Jobs, as reported by Wired, recently responded to a customer about conflict minerals in Apple products. The customer wrote:

“Are you currently making any effort to source conflict-free minerals? In particular, I’m concerned that Apple is getting tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold from Eastern Congo through its suppliers.”

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