When @jessepaul first asked if he could document the behind-the-scenes aspect of @PictureChange, I laughed and said that it would be the most boring photography assignment he’s taken. I spend most of my days sitting behind my computer or on the phone. He said it would be a good challenge and wanted to give it a try.
I started Picture Change in 2011 because, while on humanitarian photography projects, I realized that those in front of my camera where the most qualified to tell the stories of their lives and communities, they just lacked the education resources to do so. Now, I get to do what I truly love a few months each year: working in communities and teaching photography.
The rest of my year is spent making those few months possible, which translates to spending hours behind my computer responding to emails, communicating with students, writing project proposals and budgets, planning logistics, fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, creating content for social media, etc., to name a few.
Honestly, it’s pretty boring and not instagalmorous.
So, when Jesse came to my home, we sat together and I talked him through my day-to-day activities. Near the end of the photo shoot, I got a message from a partner organization saying a project I was excited about had been canceled due to funding issues. I opened up to Jesse about how discouraging it was sometimes. There seem to be far more No’s than Yes’s, a prevalent feeling of failure rather than success.
But I also told him when I get discouraged, I think of my students over the past few years whose lives are now different because they have a camera in their hands with a chance to earn an income and use their voice for good. That’s what keeps me going each day, each month, each year. I’ve seen those hours transformed into changed lives. It’s not always exciting, but it’s worth it.
Sitting there talking to Jesse help remind me of that.
When you feel called to something greater than yourself, sacrifices are necessary to make it a reality. I’m grateful for Jesse’s eyes and voice in taking the time to understand that. You can see more of my story on his website. He’s an incredible storyteller & friend.