"A picture is worth a thousand words"
(thank you Wikipedia!)
You know when an event / a moment / a something changes your life? Profoundly? Well, for me that *something* was a series of somethings. That something birthed Loud Waterfall Photography. That something made me passionate about eradicating Malaria. That something is behind every image I now take.
2008 was a wild year for me. Total roller coaster. I filed for divorce. I traveled to Ethiopia. I spent 6 days in the ICU before doctors realized I had Malaria. I made a miraculous recovery (woo hoo!). I met the man of my dreams (woo hoo!!). I began an amazing new adventure in my life and I have never been happier.
Ok, let me introduce this week's photo. Then I'll catch you up.
This is one of the first images I took in Ethiopia. We were on our way to Lake Langano. Paved roads and cities and anything remotely commercial was well behind us. These were the first village boys I encountered. They ran along side the van as long as they could, yelling "Highland!" (the bottled water company - they wanted any empty containers we had for recycling money. We didn't have any.). The moment they saw my camera pop up it changed from a recycling mission to a photo shoot. They posed. They smiled. The laughed. Then we sped off. I would go on to take over a thousand images in the next week but this (series of) photo leaps out at me and grabs my heart every time I see it.
So we fly home and I resume my life; but sure, I see excess and vanity everywhere. I vow to return to Africa the following rainy season. I can't shake the jet lag. Turns out I actually had malaria but no one could figure it out. I only got 3 mosquito bites and I downed every single awful Doxy pill I had. We were only there 10 days and our cabins were netted. How on earth was I, not only sick, but this sick?? What about every other single person on the continent who was not afforded all the preventive care that I had? After my recovery, I began researching Malaria. I very quickly learned that prevention is by far the best and mosquito netting goes a long way in achieving that. And sending a net to Africa (and other countries) only costs $10. WHAT?! Wait, really? I go through all my photos of all those sweet faces and all I can think is "whether you live or die could hinge on a ten dollar bill". It made me both nauseated and hopeful all at once. So little money could wield such long lasting and life saving change. This very quickly becomes my personal mission. When LWP was actually opened in 2011, a dollar of every sale is donated to Nothing But Nets to help eradicate Malaria.
And wouldn't you know it? This photo was also my first sale. There was something kinda serendipity about it all. I am giddy every time I can log on to NothingButNets.org and send another net (or two! or three!). I know I'm helping those kiddos grow up healthy and safe. I know that I am making a difference in someone's future. Every client of mine is helping me accomplish that, and I am ever so grateful.
Have a great day!