Tag Archives: photograph

Bolivia: Perspective Shift

When people ask me how my trip to Bolivia was, I often say, “It was intensely amazing.” But, how can a sentence really describe the experience in a brief passing while shuffling kids to and from activities or in the grocery store?

The road to Toro Toro, a 6.5hr bus ride along a dirt and cobble stone road. Thankfully, we stopped to take lots of photos!
The road to Toro Toro, a 6.5hr bus ride along a dirt and cobble stone road. Thankfully, we stopped to take lots of photos!

The truth is that the whole trip was a huge perspective shift for me – from my heart to my mind. I found it was easier to digest the whole experience as a mother than a photographer. I’m not really sure why, except that is who I am at my core: a mother first, photographer second. That is why I shared about the trip on my Mommy blog first, “What Bolivia Showed Me.

And, I still think the most powerful lesson was that:

“I discovered that photography is a powerful tool to connect us across language and social status, almost as if it’s a form of communication all it’s own. It starts with a smile. And that moment in photography where you can feel the connection in a person’s eyes exists no matter the conditions.”

The trip really nailed the truth for me – that I love photography. And, I love using it in a way that connects us, that helps us have compassion for others.

Working with our interpreter, Abi, instructors: Andrew Nicodem and Benjamin Edwards.
Working with our interpreter, Abi, instructors: Andrew Nicodem and Benjamin Edwards.

Workshops With Purpose gave us an incredible opportunity to learn in real world conditions. Partnered with Food For The Hungry, we worked from a shot list as if we were on an assignment for their Little Ones Project. We worked with interpreters and saw the work being done to eradicate the high infant mortality rate and fight childhood malnutrition.

The local school, Rodeo Escalon, hosted a community garden where students and their families learned about diversifying crops, and sponsored children could learn up through 8th grade.
The local school, Rodeo Escalon, hosted a community garden where students and their families learned about diversifying crops, and sponsored children could learn up through 8th grade.

It was a beautiful thing to see mothers and fathers becoming empowered and educated about irrigation, nutrition and growing more diverse foods to feed their children. And, it was really powerful to work with the Food For The Hungry staff to see how passionate they are to do the work. These jobs are not what we have come to expect from traditional American jobs – they go above and beyond a job title.

Rodeo Escalon - a hand washing station with water purified by the sunshine.
Rodeo Escalon – a hand washing station with water purified by the sunshine.

What impressed me the most about Food For The Hungry is that they have an exit plan – a frame work to empower the people and enable them to support their community. They aren’t a big organization that expects to hand out bags of food or medicine. They connect the community to do the work within the country.

When I asked him to pick out his favorite vegetables from the family garden, he picked carrots!
When I asked him to pick out his favorite vegetables from the family garden, he picked carrots!

 

This little one's family is being helped by Food For the Hungry to diversify their crops and learn more about nutrition.
This little one’s family is being helped by Food For the Hungry to diversify their crops and learn more about nutrition.

I am grateful beyond words for having the opportunity to attend Workshops With Purpose and follow my heart. Yes, I do love non-profit photography and will look for ways to integrate this kind of work into my business before my retirement years!

©Susan Goldman Photography A photo of me walking along a Papaya farm devastated by a hail storm.
©Susan Goldman Photography A photo of me walking along a Papaya farm devastated by a hail storm.

Some smaller side lessons the workshop taught me:

1. I can take a cold shower and not freeze to death.

2. I like Llama meat.

3. Thunder and hail storms are breath-taking and livelihood crushing.

Whenever we get the chance to talk in person, feel free to ask me more about those side lessons!

xo,

Holli

A Photo Of My Feelings

I spied this scene while out walking with my family on Sunday evening. I would not have even noticed if my daughter hadn’t asked for a water break. So, we stopped underneath  two Holly trees that create an arbor over the sidewalk. As the kids drank water in their peckish and slow way, I looked up. The golden sunlight was streaming into the nooks and crannies of the Holly leaves. That’s when I spied this:

How I Feel: blurry, stuck and ready to let the wind set me free.
How I Feel: blurry, stuck and ready to let the wind set me free.

After a rough Monday wrestling with how to proceed in fundraising for the Bolivia workshop, today I announced that I am suspending my efforts until the workshop has a firm date. And, while that left me feeling rather down, I am inspired by this photograph.

It shows exactly how I feel. After sharing it on my personal Facebook page, my friend summed it up perfectly: “I see a seed who probably gave false hope to a spider who hoped to devour it. Seed is in no danger and is getting a prolonged sky view before landing and sprouting. You are full of life and encouragement even if you feel stuck! Enjoy the view sweetie and don’t forget Im always up for taking you out to coffee when you are here!”

And, I actually love Dandelions.

Childhood inspiration

The other day, my kids had made a mess of legos on their bedroom floor just before bedtime. Instead of scolding them, I took a moment and saw the wonderland they had created. That made a light-bulb go off above my head: childhood is full of inspiration. You never know what experiences you provide a child will blossom later in life.

Snacking in my Grandma's garden.
Snacking in my Grandma’s garden.

When I found this photograph of myself eating a strawberry in my Grandma’s garden, I smiled. She always had a garden, whether with raised beds in the city or on a few acres in the country during her retirement. Those first memories of fresh strawberries and Lemon Balm are still with me, and inspire me to garden myself.

I wish she could see me today, and come wander our community garden where I am trying to grow some of my own vegetables and give my own kids the experience of watching nature bloom. Or that my photography is inspired by nature: capturing people in their natural beauty. She really was my second photography fan, and I always think of her when I smell Lemon Balm!

So, remember that even just providing experiences for children can inspire you or them days and years down the road!

Photography Show Countdown: Sneak Peek 6

fern rising

Living in the Northwest, I have always loved Ferns and the grow prolifically around here. This is one of the smallest pieces in the show at 5×7, because I was using my Cannon Powershot when I captured this photograph. I usually carry this “pocket” camera when I’m heading to the park with my kids. Since most of our family photos don’t get printed larger than an 8×10, I don’t need a high resolution setting or a fancy lens. But, then I captured this Fern on the way to the playground. It’s one of my favorite. Despite the fact that it cannot be blown up to an 11×14 print, I thought it was worth including. It makes it more affordable!

About the show: Rainbow of Life

Art with Heart: 50% of all sales will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank.  For those who can make it to the show and want to help, bring two non-perishable food items, and I’ll give you a Photo card featuring a piece from the show. You can donate non-perishable food for the entire month at Coffee To A Tea With Sugar, a donation bin is located inside. To purchase a piece from the show contact me at photoholli @ gmail dot com, or come to the show!

The Details Again: The show is part of the West Seattle Art Walk, held on January 12th form 6-9pm. My Show Reception with be from 5-8pm at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar, 4541 California Avenue S.W. Seattle, WA. The show can be seen for the entire month of January.