A group of us at Wonderful Machine decided to lend a hand to a community in need, so over the weekend we volunteered for our local Habitat for Humanity.
We spent the day priming the entire interior of a house under construction in North Philadelphia, with the patient supervision of full-time Habitat workers Cassie and Henry. We got covered in latex and Peter’s back is still sore.
Since the spirit of giving is in the air, we wanted to look at some photographers and the charitable work that they have been involved in.
Our Philadelphia-based photographer Ed Cunicelli not only joined us on our Saturday painting session but he has also been working hard as a volunteer with organizations that support Native American youth. It started when Ed did some work for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. His travels to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation and various towns within the Navajo Indian Reservation were an eye-opening experience.
I hit the history books and asked a lot of questions. It was clear to me that there has been a systemic culture of one letdown after the next. I didn’t want to be a part of that and looked for ways to start doing something.
That opportunity was Native Vision, a camp for Native American youth. Ed volunteers his time and his photography to Native Vision and has started to teach the kids there about photography.
Working with Native people has changed my approach to the way I make pictures. I now take my time and think of what why I’m making certain decisions. I now understand the importance of knowing when to put the camera down and I also never take a picture I don’t give back.
Ed hopes to someday publish the work he has done with Native American youth.
An organization close to many photographer’s hearts is Flashes of Hope. They help provide portraits taken by professional photographers to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Kevin Brusie, who is based in the Boston metro area, was so inspired by the work of Flashes of Hope that he decided to bring it closer to home. He worked with the Cleveland-based organization to bring the project to Maine’s Camp Sunshine. And, since 2008, he has organized photographs for approximately 190 children and their families.
For Kevin, this work is the ultimate test of his ability as a portrait photographer. He aims to make the children and their families comfortable without knowing their condition.
You come away with an even finer sensitivity to your subjects. It makes us all better photographers, and people.
Our last story brings us to Australia. Lynton Crabb has been working with an organization that supports people with Alzheimer’s and spreads awareness of this condition.
Working with the organization is especially important to me. My father was a long time sufferer of early onset Alzheimer’s until he passed away 5 years ago. It is special for me to be involved and feel a kinship with other people who have had the same experience.
My goal is to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in the community, recognize the caregivers, and project a respectful image of the Alzheimer’s sufferers. I would be proud if the Alzheimer’s images were viewed as one of the defining parts of my body of work in years to come.
Lynton has produced several portraits that have been used for ads, posters, corporate literature, and a traveling exhibition.