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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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KIVALINA WORK FEATURED IN WINk MAGAZINE

August 26th, 2011

My Kivalina work was recently included in a grant to the Open Society Institute by film maker Jenni Monet as part of her distribution plan. Subsequently, the photo agency Worldwide Image Navigation (WIN-Initiative), which holds an “image collection from the independent minds and unique creative perspectives of gifted photographers worldwide,” featured my work with a joint interview in their WINk Magazine, an online publication with a very attractive presentation. Click through to Page 75 to read the article.

The slow creep of things like climate change means stories created a few years ago are still extremely relevant. In 2008 I went to the remote Alaskan village of Kivalina on assignment for Germany’s Spiegel Magazine. My five days in Alaska was an amazing experience; having grown up in the northwest and having a librarian for a mother, I was exposed to many stories about native cultures. Reading about whale hunting is one thing, actually going out on the sea ice for a whale hunt is something I’d never imagined actually doing.

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PUBLISHED IN CLIMBING MAGAZINE

July 29th, 2011

Colin Haley climbing in ChamonixBefore he went to Alaska this year, I had the pleasure of another bouldering session with Colin Haley. He’s built a life that puts him on an international circuit climbing and skiing in Patagonia, Chamonix, Alaska, Yosemite, and the Himalaya which means we don’t see much of him in the Seattle area these days.

I first met Colin in the winter, at the base of The Tooth, nub of a peak that’s fairly accessible from the highway. I’m not sure he could drive yet, but over the next few years he got his license, he went to college, and he kept on climbing. We did some Cascade routes together, some cragging, and I visited him on his first trip to Chamonix (where he was “studying” French).

While bouldering at the gym, he looked at me and said, “I think I’m the same age as you were when we first met.” It was a bit of a reality check for both of us. In that decade, or so, Colin has gone from bold and opinionated teen to professional alpinist; he is a sponsored athlete in a niche market so tight and so new (in the US) that making a living from it is possible for only the rarest few.

Colin Haley Climbing ResumeWe caught up a bit on some of the trips we’d taken and what our personal lives looked like, but mostly it was about climbing and laughter. That’s something I forgot–there’s a lot of laughter when you’re around Colin.

This month, in Climbing Magazine, is a feature in the Question-Answer format with Colin. My friend, Frank Huster has the lead image, Chris Wiedner (who left Seattle for Boulder) wrote it, and I’ve got a couple of historical images of Colin. One from a climb in Chamonix, and one from our first climb together: the NE Buttress of Chair Peak. When he was just 16.

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NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY AWARD

July 27th, 2011

When I walked into MediaStorm, on my first day, I saw the golden Emmys resting on the window sill and decided I wanted one. Not because I covet a trophy, but because I wanted to have the opportunity to help create something powerful and important enough to rise above all the others. And have an impact.

“What do you know about Pakistan?” Brian asked.

“Well, that they’re complicit in the war in Afghanistan but they’re also nuclear armed and an important ally in the region?” I shrugged.

He nodded, then told me he likes to walk into projects with very little knowledge so he can digest the content with an open mind. I made a mental note.

I spent three months working on this project, through several reviews, then handed it off to Eric Maierson when I left; he went through a couple more reviews. Doing a crisis guide on Pakistan is complicated. During that time I sat in on several meetings with the Council on Foreign Relations team, explaining and sometimes defending the edits I’d made. I wanted powerful and dramatic, but also true and factual. I made both.

The script I was working with came from the Council’s team–some of the smartest, most knowledgeable people on Pakistan’s history and politics. And, if they wanted General Petraeus for an interview, they could get him (and they did). The images and video I sourced were from the world’s best photojournalists and news videographers. It was awesome, inspiring, and I wanted to do the story justice.

And so, a year later, it turns out this project was nominated for an Emmy. That very same golden trophy sitting on the window sill at MediaStorm.

In late September, we’ll see if it wins.

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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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ICRC AND VII PHOTOGRAPHER CHRISTOPHER MORRIS

July 2nd, 2010

Morris_ObamaLast week I had the honor of sharing the podium with Martin de Boer and Christopher Morris during the opening of the Our World at War exhibition at the Seattle Center. Martin is the Deputy Head of the Regional Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the US, Canada, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Christopher is a founding member of the VII Photo Agency, contract photographer for Time, and has decades of war photography under his belt; he also contributed to the exhibition.

The event was hosted by the Seattle chapter of the Red Cross, and it was through these people Lu and I had the chance to learn more about what the Red Cross actually does. Martin spoke of the organization’s history, then he segued into the exhibition itself. The idea was to put a face on the statistics, to tell stories about individuals who live in conflict zones or who are coping with the aftermath of war.

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Contributor: 2010 TIP Report by US Dept. of State

June 14th, 2010

2010_TIP_reportToday the 2010 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons report was published online. It’s a weighty tome (printed) and a sizable download (22mb). I am honored to be one of the few photographers contributing to this important report, with an image from my work on the Cambodian border (work I am currently seeking funding to continue).

The TIP Report evaluates every country in the world for its efforts in combating human trafficking. Most notably about this year’s report, it is the first time the United States has also evaluated itself. From the report:

Secretary Clinton (June 14, 2010): “The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.”

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