Monday, August 29, 2011

Junau goes to college

Junau DeLouis Louis-Jean & his American mom, Karen. 2011. Scottsdale, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Let me introduce you to Junau. He's a photographer's dream — I mean, look at that smile. Junau is all smiles, all the time. I guess that's why an entire organization fell in love with him.

Junau is from Le Cayes, Haiti. He's a smart kid. He excelled in high school, but like most Haitians he wouldn't be going to college and most likely couldn't find a job — more than two thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. Enter Global Family Philanthropy.

Volunteers from this small, grassroots Phoenix-based organization met Junau in Haiti earlier this year and in a matter of months found a college that would fund a partial scholarship for the aspiring medical student. Volunteers have started raising funds for the remaining tuition.

Junau arrived to the US in late July. He was greeted by a crowd of cheering GFP volunteers. After a crazy two weeks of sight-seeing — which included beaches in California, the Grand Canyon, horseback riding, golf and roller coasters (which he did not enjoy) — Junau is now in Kansas and settled into his Hesston College dorm with a Napalese roommate named Ash.

Welcome to Phoenix. 2011. Phoenix, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Education is everything to Junau. He knows it's the only way for a Haitian to get ahead. He talks openly about political corruption and his vision for Haiti. He loves his country, but he knows she has a long way to go. He cares for his family, focuses on his studies and volunteers — which is how he met the folks with GFP.

Junau worked side-by-side with GFP volunteers this year as they finished construction on a home for abandoned children. The home has 19 children ranging in ages from infants to nine years old. The home is just outside Junau's hometown on 16 acres of sustainable farmland.

Junau's fluency in English, French and KreyĆ²l helped GFP connect with children in need — including Schneider, a small boy who was living for months in a public hospital after being abandoned. Ultimately, Junau wants to be a doctor and return to Haiti to work with children. 

Getting to know Junau. 2011. Flagstaff, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Jenga Champ. 2011. Flagstaff, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Junau and Lori. 2011. Scottsdale, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


If you would like to learn more about GFP, visit http://globalfamilyphilanthropy.org. GFP will be hosting a dinner fundraiser at Roaring Fork in Scottsdale on Sunday, Sept. 4. Tickets are $75 and all proceeds go towards Junau's tuition. For more information: http://gfpfamilydinner.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Global Family Philanthropy and Haiti

I can't stop thinking about Haiti. I have Global Family Philanthropy to blame. Well, GFP and graphic designer Jenny Poon — I stalked Jenny's blog for updates from her two trips to Haiti with GFP.

The Global Family organization is small — enthusiastic, but small. Volunteers visit Haiti several times a year to complete projects ranging from construction, painting and education. Just this year they completed the construction of a home for 19 abandoned children — many of whom are left on the streets or in public hospitals.

Most recently, GFP sponsored its first college student. Junau, a 20-year-old Haitian student and GFP volunteer, starts classes at Hesston College in Kansas next week.

I'm excited to be doing some work with GFP.  I'm a fan of photo-philanthropy and GFP is a good fit for me and my work. For these reasons, I wanted to introduce you to the organization. Chances are, I will be talking about Haiti and GFP again soon.

To learn more about Global Family Philanthropy and the incredible work they do, check out this short documentary.



HAITI: Small Beginnings from Sherri Urann on Vimeo.
Mini documentary by Sherri Urann exposing the current state of devastation in Haiti, and daily challenges children face to survive everyday. Perils ranging from the abandonment of babies, cholera, starvation, and a simple lack of love threaten the young of this bereaved country. But big change has small beginnings. Watch to learn what Global Family is doing to help Haiti's future by loving its people in the present. See the rescue of two little girls, and learn how you can help.

film by sherri urann
original music adam kootman
www.thesimplegoods.com
www.globalfamilyphilanthropy.org

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Costa Rica with Rustic Pathways

A friend of mine from college, Justin Kase Conder is a mad man and one helluva a photographer. He also has the coolest job ever. He's head photographer for Rustic Pathways, which offers travel programs all over the world to high school students. Just last week he summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and this week he's on safari in the Serengeti. Yes, his job rocks.

Justin Kase shared a little bit of his dream job with a few of his colleagues — me included. The Rustic Pathways organization sent me to beautiful Costa Rica for nine days to photograph the activities and community service work of 35 high school kids. Thanks Kase. I guess now I owe you.


Estudiante en la escuela. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Estudiante en la escuela dos. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Saltar la cuerda. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Estudiantes en la escuela tres. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Soccer Field. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways student volunteers. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Estudiantes en la escuela quatro. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways cement fight. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Red eyed tree frog. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography
Rustic Pathways student volunteers 02. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways zip line. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways zip line 02. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways students. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Rustic Pathways students 02. 2011. Costa Rica. ©Jill Richards Photography

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paris Family home water birth

I’ve witnessed a birth before. I was 17. It was equal parts amazing and horrifying. It did not make me feel warm and fuzzy about ever giving birth. I’m sure that had less to do with the sterile hospital setting and more to do with being 17.

I was invited to photograph a home water birth after a colleague of mine had to leave town and her expecting family was running days past their due date. I have to admit, I crossed my fingers for the chance to photograph the event. Big thanks to Jill McNamara for sharing the opportunity.

At 3 a.m. I received a call from a calm, expecting father. Bryan Paris said it was time. When I arrived, Megan was in full-blown contractions. The Paris family had an inflatable pool set up in their dining room. The kitchen table became a workspace for midwifery supplies. A hose from the bathroom ran down the hall and into the dining room, filling the pool with warm water. Megan’s mother and Bryan were sharing the duties of bringing fresh wash cloths to cool off with, ice water to drink and back rubs to relieve pressure.

With Bryan in the water at her side, Megan began the pushing process around 3:30 a.m. She seemed to find a calmness in the deep breathing, teeth clenching and pep-talking to her soon-to-be baby girl. At one point, she rubbed her stomach and spoke directly to her baby, reassuring her it was time. The breathing deepened as the pain increased. By 3:50 a.m., Maya Leigh was born. She entered the warm water of the pool and took her first breaths as she lay on top of her mother’s stomach.

Maya was wrapped in a towel and brought into the Paris’ bedroom, where she immediately started breast feeding. Within minutes of her birth, Maya was in her mother’s arms and in their bed at home. In the morning Maya would meet her big brother, Finn, 2, who slept the entire night not knowing his little sister was being born in the dining room.

Thank you to Megan and Bryan for inviting me into your home and introducing me to Maya. I can’t thank you enough for giving me permission to share these personal photographs.

And yes, this experience made me feel warm and fuzzy about giving birth.

Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya Leigh is born. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Joy. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Getting a good look at Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Grandma gets a look. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Hello. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography






Bryan, Megan and Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

All eyes on Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya finds her voice. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya weighs 8lbs. 3oz. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Grandma and Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya fights a nap. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Baby Feet. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Baby Cheeks. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Paris Family. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Farewell to YES

These are sad times for newspapers. I’m thankful I don’t work for one anymore — although I’m happy to pick up the occasional freelance assignment. In late, June Gannett Corporation, who owns The Arizona Republic, my previous employer, announced another round of layoffs — 700 total. Included in the most recent round of cutbacks was YES, the Arizona Republic style section which ran every Friday.

In its many forms as a publication — tab, glossy, broadsheet — YES brought fashion to a community that thrived on shopping and looking good. The section and its writers supported local boutiques, designers and talent. Yes, it was fluff — but after a week of reading about Arizona politics and border fights, an article about neutrals or wedges was refreshing.

The YES crew — a stunning collection of fashionable young women, with the exception of me in my blue jeans and Chaco sandals — had one of the coolest jobs in a newsroom. We worked in the best parts of Arizona — Jerome, Sedona, Flagstaff. We traveled to Mexico for photo shoots on the beach. During our busy season we worked on two fashion shoots a week.

YES is the reason I came to Arizona. YES is the reason I loved my job. And YES is the reason I can work today as a commercial photographer. Thank you for the education.

Here are some of my favorite images from my three years with YES.

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche
Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche
Model: Ford Robert Black. Stylist: Stephanie Armenta. Makeup/Hair: Laura Flagler.

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Casey Hagerty. Makeup/Hair: Jacqueline Passos. Art Director: Celine Hacche

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Laura Flagler.
Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Michele Lee

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche

Model: Ford Robert Black. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche
Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche
Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault. Art Director: Celine Hacche

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Stephanie Armenta. Makeup/Hair: Shauna Thibault.

Model: Agency AZ. Stylist: Ginger Murphy. Makeup/Hair: Laura Flagler. Art Director: Celine Hacche