Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What is Project Dignity?

Monday, August 3, 2009
Every person has a story to be told. In studio settings it can be hard to find a way to honor that story given the options available for photography today.

I experienced this first hand when I took my daughter to go get her 3 year old photos taken only to leave the studio without a single good shot. We were both struggling through frustrated tears from the experience. The lights were too bright for her due to issues she has with sensory integration disorder. The staff did not understand that she could not speak due to developmental delay. We received dirty looks and impatient noises when she would not stop putting her hands in her mouth and stimming so that she could pose like every other child who had walked into the studio that day. When we got back the few photos they managed to shoot I realized that what I had in my hand was a bad memory. In no way did those photos represent the child I loved so very much, and the spark in her that shined every day.

We went home and I set up one of my back drops right there in her bedroom and just sat there with her for an hour, letting her relax so that I could try to capture her beauty and spirit in an environment that she was comfortable with. I did not yell at her to smile, or make her pose. There were no bright lights, only one open window. I let her be herself and worked around that to catch a glimpse of her personality in a sliver of time.

Because I took the time to meet her where she was at, she gave me the gift of being able to capture her spark and her personality in a way that would have never happened in a traditional studio with bright lights, lots of activity, and demands on her time and behavior. The smile I got from her was genuine happiness at being in her element and doing what she loves to do.

That day, Project Dignity was born. It is time to offer a new option for people who need an alternative to traditional studio sessions that will honor the person within. We will meet you in a place that is comfortable for the client, and will take our time to get beautiful artistic shots that capture their personality and spark in a way that simply cannot be done in an unfamiliar studio setting.

Every person has a story to be told. We are here to tell that story.