As a photographer it’s sometimes hard to justify shooting nonprofit photography, especially pro bono. But every once in a while some a project comes along that is just too perfect to pass up. Last spring I was presented with an opportunity to direct a film and a stills campaign for the nonprofit SheLift. SheLift’s idea is really quite simple, and really quite compelling as well: Sarah Herron, the founder, was born without her left forearm and after years of struggling with image issues, turned to adventure sport, well specifically, skiing. It took her nearly 20 years to find the courage to overcome image issue that are related to her arm, but almost instantly through the rush and accomplishment associated with skiing, she felt empowered. She felt lifted.
Sarah now takes women with disabilities, primarily with limb differences, out adventuring. She contacted me to cover her inagural retreat in Aspen, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have taken part. The project was not only up my alley (covering skiing), but speaking to Sarah, it was clear she had a vision. She was professional and had a goal. I knew the project would be seamless and most importantly would further SheLift’s message.
A lot of time and energy goes into mini-documentaries, so I don’t just take any project. I wish I could, but as a professional photographer/director, I need to make money just like everyone else in this world. I think carving out time for non profit photography is important for any photographer/director not only because it has the potential to greatly impact an organization, but it also brings important awareness and meaning into one’s life and work.
I continue to work with Sarah and this fall will be filming her second retreat in Moab Utah, where’s she’s taking 5 young women rapelling. Please take a moment and visit her site to learn more: SheLift.