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I was invited last summer to shoot some portraits of the kids at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp… It’s an interesting place. For starters, it’s free to attend camp there… but… most kids there have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia or other blood diseases, HIV/AIDs, or are otherwise medically unable to attend any other summer camp.
There were bunch of photographers there that day… and collectively, we made portraits of hundreds of kids, thanks to the amazing work of Flashes of Hope. (More on them after the photos).
My assignment was to shoot B&W portraits of two groups of boys. And I have to say, every one of these boys I met was delightful — and by all appearances, perfectly healthy happy kids. My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of them.
I had a few challenges ‘outside my box’ of my own that day…(though nothing compared to what the kids have gone through. ) One was full-sun high-noon portraits in July. My inner-diva photographer said… “great kids, great location, terrible light. I’ll take my nap now, and will someone please wake me about a hour before sunset?” I shoot a lot in my studio… with powerful studio lights… so I brought one along thinking it might just the ticket for shooting in full sun. It worked. Every shot below was lit with the studio light.
Another challenge was that the assignment was for black and white images. Ever since about 1975, when I first saw Pete Turner’s amazing color photos, I never wanted to shoot black and white again. Thanks to this assignment, I’ve rediscovered a old creative tool.
Here are a few of my pictures… but keep reading below….
Flashes of Hope is a national organization that arranges photo shoots in pediatric hospitals for kids and their families. These shoots brighten the lives of the kids… and the hallways of their hospitals. They invite photographers and make-up artists to volunteer their time to produce portraits of the kids, and in so doing, they preserve special memories for these kids and their families. But even though the work in the trenches is largely done by volunteers, it takes money to keep the organization’s wheels turning.
Meet Lisa Cencula… She’s one of the head honchos at Flashes of Hope, as well as the leader of our group last July. She was a delight to work with. This is someone that knows how to work a clipboard! I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone with so much energy and ability to get things done (except for my bride of course!). Lisa was running by as I was finishing up my last official B&W portait and I convinced her to sit still for about 1/60 of one second. I got the distinct impression that she never sat still for that long of a time before. Nonetheless, I got this one snapshot of her before she ran off. No time for herself… but she is really doing great work for these kids and their families!
Back to my original point, forgive my digression…. I’ll be making contributions to both Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and Flashes of Hope this year. Please learn more about these organazations… and please contribute too…
p.s… special thanks to my amazing bride Sarah who spent the day keeping track of the important details that are critical in a shoot like this.