Some projects last a few hours, others a few weeks. For Healdsburg, California photographer Bryan Meltz, one project will last a lifetime.
In 2004, Bryan worked as a still photographer on the set of a PBS documentary about refugees resettling in America. She made a special connection with one family in particular and kept in touch. She returns a few times every year to photograph Arbai and her family, and in the span of the last 14 years has made a library of images she holds near and dear.
The relationship now is more family than anything else – I’ve seen Arbai’s family grow as her children have children. I’ve been at school performances and doctor visits – and vice versa. They’ve been there as I welcomed my first child. The friendship I have with Arbai has truly changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.
A selection of the 4×5 film images will be shown in a February group exhibition at the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning called Future of America, curated by Rebecca Dimling Cochran. Additionally, the six participating artists have work focusing on American youth, and Rebecca would love for the work to speak to larger issues.
It is my hope that the exhibition helps remind us that as we make changes to environmental, economic, educational, health care and immigration policies, we remember that we are responsible for all these young citizens of the United States. We are the guardians of their future.
See more of Bryan’s photography on his website.
When a fellow photographer approached Palm Harbor-based photographer Justin Ross Ward about filming corresponding motion for a shoot he was doing with Prevention Magazine, Justin was more than happy to collaborate. The project was about Schuyler Arakawa and Meridith Hankenson, a daughter and mother with strong will and even stronger hearts.
After hearing the inspiring story of Schuyler’s recovery after being hit by a boulder while cliff jumping in Colombia, and seeing her mother Meridith’s love and strength throughout the process, Justin knew it would make for a powerful film.
They filmed on location at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, close to where Schuyler was receiving rehabilitation treatment. In fact, it turned out to be a perfect spot, allowing Meridith and Schuyler to interact with each other in a genuine, intimate way.
The shoot went like a dream, with no major roadblocks. The aquarium even allowed them early access, thanks to Meridith’s relationship with them.
All of the challenges that could have existed where overcome by Schuyler and Meridith before we ever got there to film.
Prevention even picked up the video, which is featured on their website alongside the images and copy. Justin is thankful for collaboration among photographers, and glad for his small part in a much larger story.
See more of Justin’s photography on his website.