Each year I allocate time and resources to give back to the community. I am fortunate in my personal life and my business, and I try to do my part to help others. A few weeks ago, I helped photograph the Special Olympics of Arizona Tennis Tournament, held at the Tucson Racquet Club. If you haven’t worked with the Special Olympics you are missing out. This event was expertly organized by Holly Thompson who has over 2 decades of experience working with Special Olympics. It’s not only a well-orchestrated event, but it is also a gathering of people who are passionate and kind.
The athletes were skilled and focused. They brought their A-game. They loved the competition and the sport. Some showed up with big hopes of winning, but all were there to have fun.
This event was one of many they organize. If you would like to get involved, browse their events page and contact them. They would love the support and it might mean the world to someone you haven’t even met yet.
There is a new-ish and important business in town called Milk and Honey Breastfeeding and Postpartum Support, co-owned by Nina Isaac and Crissi Blake. When I was a new mom, Nina was a huge support when all I wanted to do in life, at that moment, was nourish my baby. Breastfeeding isn’t always as intuitive as you might imagine. There are complications, difficulties and fears. Nina was there to assess and reassure and it made all the difference. I owe much of my postpartum sanity to her!
Nina and Crissi are busy in their new business helping moms bond with their babies through breastfeeding. They are comforting and caring. They are patient. They listen. They are a much-needed addition to our community.
That is why I wanted to work with them to raise money for a fund they created within their business. It is called “The Honey Pot” and helps underserved moms benefit from their services. We did a morning of mini photo sessions that were donated to the fund. These are a sampling of some of the sweet families that visited us that morning.
I was told recently, by a mom of three children, that parents lie when they say they don’t have a favorite child. I wonder if everyone who has multiple children feels the same. I only have one child so I don’t know for sure.
However I am a photographer with multiple clients! I definitely have favorites and this family is at the top of the list. I adore this family.
When I managed a photo studio in Chicago they were clients there, when their family was just beginning. It was pure coincidence that they relocated to Tucson around the same time I did. They called the Chicago studio for a reference for a photographer in Tucson and learned that I was here too. They have honored me with photographing their family ever since.
I have watched all of these children start as babies and grow into their expressive, comical personalities. I have also watched their mom and dad navigate the parenting ship with a down-to-earth perspective and a great sense of humor. They are “real”. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They are kind. They are generous. They are adventurous. They are creative. They appreciate photography and art.
I love getting their phone call each year for family photos! It doesn’t get better than this!
One of my favorite things to do each month is meet up with the Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce. I have been a member for years and have made great friendships and business partnerships because of it. They are an energetic group of people who are the heart of the local GLBT business community.
I was honored when I was asked to photograph a professional portrait for one of Tucson’s most well-known real estate guru’s, Colette Barajas of Centra Realty. She is a member of the GLBT Chamber of Commerce, along with being a volunteer and activist for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, United Way, Arizona Human Rights Fund, Compass Health Care, Wingspan, Lesbian and Gay Public Awareness Project, and Community Profile.
For any real estate needs, Colette Barajas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 520•882•0767.
As planning for the 30th Great Tucson Beer Festival in Tucson is well underway, I will share photos from the event last October. This fundraising event is put on each year by the Tucson chapter of Sun Sounds of Arizona. They are an organization that has been around since 1979. They provide audio access to print media (newspapers, magazines, books, etc.) to people in the Southwest who cannot read print because they have a disability. The services are crucial to helping people keep up with current events and continue pursuing their goals and dreams.
This cause is near and dear to my heart because my wife has visual impairment. She knew how to read braille when she was young and used audio assistance to get through college. Fortunately her condition hasn’t degraded enough to inhibit her day-to-day activities.
My wife often jokes that my longest client since living in Tucson, the Beer Festival organizer, has never seen one of my photos! I am guessing others have told her I do a decent job.
Become their friend on Facebook. Be part of this year’s band search contest. Join the celebration this year, October 1, 2016. Purchase your tickets today to support a great cause!
Here is another from the fall sessions. When I met Kariman (wife and mom) I immediately loved talking with her. She is a Nutritional Therapist and owner of New Gratitude Nutritional Therapy. She is a wealth of information about health and nutrition. She had helpful tips for me to pass on to my daughter. After talking with her for a few minutes I could see the passion she has for what she does.
When she asked me to photograph her family and update her headshot, I was happy to, but I didn’t realize what I was in for. When they stepped out of the car on the morning of their photo session, I fell in love with the rest of her family too. They are lighthearted, down-to-earth and hilarious. There were jokes and laughter through the entire hour.
This is the good stuff.This is what life is about.The joy, the family and the close connection with one another – it doesn’t get any better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Phoenix, getting ready to photograph a headshot, when I stumbled upon this fantastic band, Riverside Cathedral. They are a lively and engaging group. The accordion player, Tatiana Crespo, was making a guest appearance and was a delight.
I always feel lucky to stumble upon great entertainers!
Thank you for the great show!
The last time I photographed this sweet family was when their youngest was a tiny baby. I am constantly amazed at how quickly they grow.
They appreciate candid, light-hearted and fun.
The fall and winter months are busy and bustling with photo projects. I focus my time on photographing and editing and don’t spend a moment on updating blog posts or sharing all the great things I am working on. I save that for the beginning of the year when I have a little more time to breathe. Let’s begin with an important one!
Every fall the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona hosts a couple fundraising events. This year they did something new and put on their annual wine event at The House. People were able to tour the lobby, kitchen, dining and outdoor areas of the Ronald McDonald House. They were able to get a feel for the care provided for the families that stay there. They were able to meet some of the staff that create the warm, nurturing and loving environment that make the Ronald McDonald House so essential to children who are healing.
They always put on a lively event, with food, music (Adara Rae & the Homewreckers), a silent auction and a space to mingle and enjoy the evening. Sean and Amy Miller, along with other local “heros”, are long-time supporters and often in attendance at these important events.
To learn more about this great organization, to volunteer, to donate or to attend one of their spectacular events, visit their website at: http://rmhctucson.org/.
When I photograph a newborn baby I don’t get too into dolling them up with clothing or props. There is an inherent beauty in the stillness, the newness, the peacefulness, the wisdom, the fragility and even the cries. I like to sit with them and wait for their quick expressions to come and go. They have their own magic that surrounds them. They are perfect as is. They can be dressed up and when they are older, during playtime or Halloween. When they are new, life is simple and beautiful for them. I like to cherish that simplicity in their first photos.
All photos © 2015 Urban Abstrakt, Inc.