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I don’t admire many people and I attempt to emulate even fewer. I try to be my own self. But I do admire Colby Brown and Nancy Farese.
They both have found a way to combine two things I am passionate about; photography and philanthropy. They both took different tacks to combine these two activities and I want to highlight their efforts to the larger DPS readership as many of you may share the same philosophies and find their efforts worth backing. If doing good for your fellow humans while on this planet is not your thing, you can skip over this post.
I first heard about Colby’s efforts via Google+ where he has a strong following. A professional photographer by trade, Colby has found ways to turn his camera into a source for doing good in this world through past endeavors such as Lepwpa Haiti. At the time, last Fall, Colby was vague about what was coming, only stating that it would be a chance for photographers to not only learn the art, but to give back to communities in the process.
A few months later, enter The Giving Lens. Colby’s approach to helping the underserved in the places he has and will visit is to partner with a local charity that is of personal interest to him and offer a photography workshop in the same location. These are areas such as Peru and Nicaragua (and more coming soon). His photo tours are not intended to give participants direct experience in shooting humanitarian situations (something Colby has done often), but instead, to give participants a chance to learn more about the overall macro environment where the aid is being delivered while teaching photography on the road.
I like this approach because it doesn’t make the tours about going and photographing people in need in far off lands the priority. The priority is on teaching photography in a more traditional sense while traveling, with the added benefit of possibly working with local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to help further their cause. The tours appear to be focused on the larger picture of the community in context as well, so the photography isn’t all directed to the impoverished, but will cover the beauty and color and life in various places around the globe.
To find out more about this growing opportunity, take a look at The Giving Lens’ website to see how you can make an impact.
A few years ago, Nancy Farese started Photo Philanthropy with a simple idea; she wanted to connect non-profits, a model she strongly believes in, with photographers who could help provided a much needed means of communicating for the non-profit’s ideas, missions and accomplishments. It seemed like a natural fit to her at the time as she was often wishing to work with non-profits and used her photography skills to gain access while being of service.
Fast forward to today and Photo Philanthropy is a bustling website with dozens of fresh opportunities for a photographer to work directly with an NGO, at home and abroad, in helping bring their story to life through the use of nothing but a camera. If you have a camera and a willingness to help, Photo Philanthropy might be able to find a NGO that can use your talent. Think of the site as a clearing house for those looking for photo assistance and those looking to help.
Get started with the site’s Connections page. Here you can search for efforts you might want to help(many of the NGOs are USA based and if that is where you live, you will find opportunities close to home not requiring international travel). The array of opportunities is vast, from heath care for the underserved, to soccer programs in Africa to gardening and healthy food programs for kids. And the content is changing often as new NGOs submit their information to be included on the site. I typically check the site every six months to see what is new and where I might be of service. It doesn’t always mean something is available in my area, but, as I travel internationally, I am hopeful of a time when my photography skills can be put to use the the betterment of others.
Photo Philanthropy takes the leg work out of finding an NGO to donate your time and skills to. Take a look at their site to see how you may be of help.
These are just two of the many great operations out there trying to use photography for the betterment of our fellow human beings. Do you know of more that should be highlighted? Feel free to leave a comment if you know of a service that helps link photography with philanthropy. And if you know of an NGO that needs some photo help, hook them up with Photo Philanthropy.