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ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Lisa, the First Detox” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

June 20th, 2013

Alexia Foundation Logo
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 6/19/2013.

Mid morning, I forget the day, and she texted. ALL CAPS. I used to have a regular work schedule, but with some of the late nights I’ve been keeping it’s been hard. First it was riding with the cops, on a 5pm to 1am shift, but recently I’ve been following Lisa, the young woman in the robe.

She seems to live in three hour increments, which is about the longest she’ll go between getting high. She’s doing nearly three grams of black a day, often cooking the tar-like heroin with a couple crystals of meth. The clockwork of her habit supersedes all other things; daylight, food, shelter and especially me, the tag-along journalist she sometimes lets into her life.

“SORRY ABOUT LAST NIGHT MY BAD BUT HEY I NEED A HUGE FAVOR I NEED TO GET A HOLD OF SOMEONE FROM GENESIS ASAP MY PHONE IS ABOUT TO DIE AND NO CHARGER BUT I AM AT SAFEWAY ON 216 AND WANT TO CHECK INTO DETOX NOT NOW BUT RIGHT NOW BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND AS LONG AS ITS MEDICAL THO”

Lisa grabs a last smoke before entering the detox center.

Catch as catch can. Sometimes she reaches out, only to disappear. Sometimes I find her, walking, working. This time she was making a big move. She’s got my number, because I’m persistent, but had lost the number for the Genesis Project, a drop in center started by police for people like her.

When we arrived, she was fidgeting at an outdoor table, amazingly still there. She hadn’t slept in the past couple of days and had been “around,” essentially drifting between friends’ motel rooms and different dates. With the rain, she didn’t have a lot of those. She has a few regulars, but Lisa primarily prostitutes from the street. She’s been doing that for six years, when she was turned out by a pimp at 13. He’s in jail now, for murder.
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Posted in behind the scenes, documentary, human rights, human trafficking, iPhone, journalism, Leaving the Life, movies, multimedia, NGO, non profit, prostitution, social justice Comments Off on ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Lisa, the First Detox” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

CLIENT WORK: POMEGRANATE CENTER FUNDRAISING VIDEO

May 24th, 2012

It always sounds easier than it ends up being, but working through the surprises keeps things interesting. 

My relationship with the Pomegranate Center started at a wedding last summer. Catherine and Andy’s, to be exact. Their officiant happened to be the managing director of Pomegranate; she had a big project coming up, and needed some help with it. For both Pomegranate and myself, this turned into an ongoing relationship with the Tully’s Coffee brand and it’s parent company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. 

A couple months ago, Pomegranate asked if I could produce a video for their annual fundraiser breakfast. They didn’t need a “What is Pomegranate Center,” they wanted something with a little story about diversity, community, and leveraged the content I had shot in 2011.

Over coffee, we looked at the potential characters and found a story about parenting and exposing children to diversity and community. John, a single parent, was a volunteer at one of the Pomegranate builds last year. His two boys brought him to the event which struck a chord with the values he developed as a teen.

The work plan was simple: shoot an interview, collect some B-roll, and show off Pomegranate Center with existing visual content. I enjoy working in a team, but I’m comfortable in the field, the edit suite, or as a producer. This allows me to fit a variety projects with a scalable approach. It works well for a fundraiser short or more intense documentary pieces.

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Posted in advocacy, client, collaboration, community, corporate, editing, multimedia, non profit, publishing, technique Comments Off on CLIENT WORK: POMEGRANATE CENTER FUNDRAISING VIDEO

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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Posted in advocacy, client, clients, community, inspiration, NGO, non profit, photography Comments Off on 2011 CLIENT REVIEW: WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

2011 CLIENT REVIEW: CONTINUUM OF CARE FOR HOMELESS YOUTH

March 9th, 2012

YouthCare. I remember a background interview I did with its executive director, Melinda Giovengo, in 2010, when I wanted to learn more about their work with prostituted juveniles. (below: Giovengo at YouthCare’s Orion Center)

Not one to mince words Giovengo said, and I’m paraphrasing, that in her 20 plus years in the aftercare industry, she found the busiest time for Seattle’s street kids engaging in sex work during the 1980’s was the lunch hour. That was when the Bellevue businessmen drove to the city for a quickie. Today the business isn’t much different, but its been redefined as human trafficking, opening the issue up to different resources.

Flash forward to 2011; an introduction from a mutual acquaintance put me in touch with Deborah Edison, Director of Development and Marketing. She doesn’t mince words either.

While the YouthCare’s human trafficking program is important, Edison is less interested in talking about prostituted juveniles than she is in promoting the YouthCare’s continuum of care. Since I see human trafficking as a symptom of greater issues, with homelessness and its lack of opportunity one of the root causes, I was immediately on board. Edison wanted me to help her update YouthCare’s image library, some of which was over 10 years old, so they could showcase their work in a new website.
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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

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