Thursday, November 27, 2014

Get more than you Give

      I almost didn't go.

      Only a single refugee on the delivery schedule had agreed to be photographed, leaving me with, what seemed, little to do as the Saturday crew made three deliveries.Maybe in a couple weeks, I thought.

      I decided to go anyway, at the least maybe it would lead me to explore another perspective, photograph what I could, while respecting real-life concerns some refugees have about being photographed living in America with family still back home.

      It ended up one of the most touching and lovely days of my nine years photographing WTAP, one that reminds me why I do what I do, photographing people and organizations like the Welcome to America Project deliveries. 

      The great philosopher of NGO work, John Benson, a nurse, counselor, pharmacy manager, entertainer of small refugee children, jack of all trades that I worked with for a very short but profound week in 1994 in Rwanda once said, "I think I get more than I give," reflecting on his motivations and rewards. If you do the work, and someone's life is affected, improved, their heart filled, then your heart is filled and that is enough. It is a reward without price, A reward that does not come any other way but to do for others.

      ON this day I witnessed overflowing hearts of refugees, touched and grateful for the furniture and household items that made their sparse apartments into homes.

      The Haitian man here on his own, evacuated int eh 2010 earthquake who only just now arrived in Phoenix to begin getting on his feet, grinned from ear to ear, thanking everyone as he watched furniture, bedsheets, a clock, kitchen tools, item after item coming through his door. The smile never left his face as he sat surrounded by volunteers who listened to his story.

      Next the Cuban couple who left Cuba because these thinking people had the nerve to express their opinions about how thing operated in their homeland, so they did not want to be photographed. They gathered the group to express their thanks, the husband/father speaking for his loved-ones saying, didn't believe the negative stuff that's said about Americans, rather he became borderline choked up saying, you are who I believed you would be, welcoming and generous, and he pledged to be the same once his family got on their feet.

  And then the beautiful Somali family who agreed to let me work, also just so happy to be away from the continued troubles of their homeland and so welcoming of the youthful group of volunteers to their tapestry-draped home full of playful kiddos and grateful generations. 

      As I photographed the grandmother of the group, who sat, quietly watching as couches, tables and other needed homey touches generously poured through the front door, she flashed a thumbs up and emotion-filled smile for my lens. 

      What a great day and way to start the season of thanks.

      Be sure to spread the spirits of the season and help someone out even if it's just in some small way.

       You will get more than you give, I promise.

  Don't forget about my fine art Print Sale and donation drive for the Welcome to America Project. Read on to the next blog post below for details.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fine Art for Refugees

UPDATE, 11/26/14 
Black Friday/Small Business Saturday, save 20% on select images

Cyber Monday Code: save 20% on all, code: CYBERART
Giving Tuesday: Save 10% GIVING

I'm giving 25% of proceeds across the board to WTAP!  
  Buy a photograph and keep a great cause on track!

      Okay, as I know you are all crazy busy, and here I am demanding some of that time, so let me cut to the chase about how you may help make a difference. Only after that I'll explain my thinking, so you may act right away or, if you're curious, read on for more details.

The Special: 

Photographs for charity,  
Holiday special:
      It's been a prolific year in creating new images of beauty of the place many of us call home. Spectacular lightning storms, colorful canyons; and the best of this work can brighten up your home or office.
     Staring today, buy one fine art photograph through my Fine Art Photography store on Scott's Marketplace, through Wednesday, Dec 17, and I will donate 15% of the proceeds of the sale to the Welcome to America Project, one of the local charities that I volunteer my photographic services to, bringing my international aid experience to an import local organization.

      Buy two and that goes up to 20%.

      Buy three or more and I'll give away 30%!

                  Go to D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes store

About The Welcome To America Project
A new helmet to go with a new bike for a Liberian refugee to get to work.

      The Welcome to America Project is sorta like a "welcome wagon" for newly arrived refugees.

      They help folks who have been through trauma that have only read about, much less imagine, in escaping persecution based in politics and conflict, often under the threat to their lives. Those who are resettled in Phoenix, often arrive, and this is no exaggeration, with little more than the clothes on their back.

      WTAP helps get them settled by providing basic furniture and household items and even some clothing, helping ease the transition as they begin their new lives in a new country and culture. I've voluntarily done the culture adjustment before and it is no easy thing in the best circumstances.

      I volunteer for WTAP by providing my professional photojournalistic services to tell their story and history as a local, grassroots organization that makes a difference in people's lives.

A chance to put my bike knowledge to work assembling a new
machine for a refugee, with the help of "Bike Lady"
Jackie, a fellow journalist. 
      On occasion I get my hands dirty in other ways, turning a wrench or helping to lift a couch. During the holidays, my whole family gets into the act, "adopting" a refugee family. I do this not because I look for appreciation, but rather because I feel compelled, and I am able to do so.

      I believe in what WTAP does.

      By raising funds through the sale of work, it's an amazing opportunity to lighten their load in another way, to keep the truck running, the storage units full, deliveries on track.

Among my personal favorite images
on sale from Oak Creek.
The Fine Art Photography Store,
 D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes:
      I recently partnered with Scott's Marketplace to set up an online store for fine art photography. While my primary job is commercial and journalistic photography, I am a photographer inspired by anything that speaks to my visual muse.

      I enjoy photographing landscapes and cityscapes just as much I enjoy my other specialties and so I create according to what grabs me. This store provides another opportunity to share that inspiration.

      I Hope you too, will be inspired.

     With all that is going on here at D'Elia Photographic Central, this store offers a chance to do several things at once, help out a causes that is near and dear to my heart, promote the buy-local cause by working with another local business (Artisan Color is our large print photo lab), a local marketplace, (Scott's and Local First Arizona) and, yes, help my business grow.

     Could we cover the cost of delivery to one

      Could we fuel the delivery truck or provide hardware and tools like nails, hooks and other supplies used to repair furniture and hang photos in refugee homes?

      As a community that appreciates photographic art, you and I,  could we pay for a month's rent on WTAP's office and storage facility or fuel the delivery truck?     

     The more pieces of artwork that fly out the door, the more gets raised for WTAP.

      Is it conceivable that we could raise enough to cover all of the above?

               Go to D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes store


Monday, October 13, 2014

Komen Race for the Photos, er, I mean, Cure

     I love Race for the Cure! It's a one-day even in Phoenix with multiple races requiring a complicated plan to get as much as possible covered. It is non-stop photography for at least four hours. It's adrenaline mixed with a sore neck from all the swiveling it does to keep me on task, doing the best job I can for the client. And while I'm at it I'd like to think I'm honoring my sister Margie just a bit too. Anyway, I wanted to share some of the early picks of the litter from yesterday. 

In slideshow format.....


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Photographs, Family and Cycling

Bob shades my lens from lens flare as I shoot toward the sun,  a portrait of Gunny Marquis.

Gunny Marquis, lit with camera strobe,
camera left, and a rim light camera
right and slightly behind
     As the Photographic blog title suggests, this work can often be an adventure, and what better way to have an Adventure than to share it with a friend who also happens to be family.

     Okay, one step better, to photograph a sport about which I'm passionate, cycling.

Sign me up!

     So, not long ago, just before it got really hot, an assignment took me so far to the northwest valley,  I'm not even sure it is technically in the Valley, to photograph a bicyclist who was recovering from a number of back and orthopedic surgeries.

From the back of my truck, piloted by brother-in-law Bob
I shoot into the rising sun to pick up highlights and
shimmer from the road surface.
Gunny turns back, riding into the beautiful
golden-hour light early in the morning.
     I wanted to have the opportunity to photograph him while in motion rather than leapfrogging ahead to jump out each time to make an image.

     I needed a driver.

     My brother-in-law Bob, a fellow cyclist, had always wanted to help on a shoot of this sort, and so even at the insane hour, (meeting up at 4:30 for the drive west), he was all over it.

     The shoot was simple.  Set up a couple of strobes in the back of my pick-up to cut through some of the haze, to light up "Gunny" Marquis as he pedaled along on a brisk morning, with his pal, Ken Wandler, somewhere north of Sun City West and west of 165th Ave.

     While I wanted them to pedal toward the sun to use the beautiful golden hour glow of first light, I also liked the idea of having them pedal away from the sun, using the reflection of the sunlight off the pavement and road striping to create a feel of early morning isolation. With the power of two SB-800's there was just enough to open up the shadow in the two men's faces.

     All the while Bob's skilled driving kept me at the perfect distance in front of the riders as they climbed and descended the ripples in the road. The consumate assistant he pointed out key points in the road that presented better vantage points as we moved along.

     It's always also helpful to have the extra hand as we set up a portrait opportunity, using the shiny ribbon of pavement glowing from the reflection of the oncoming sun, and radio remoted strobes to again fill in the shadow and provide a rim highlight on the side of Gunny's face (camera right).

     I am grateful for opportunities to have help in my work and even more so when I can share something I love to do with someone close to me. Thanks Bob-o for all your help and to Gunny for being such a great subject to photograph!
Bob helps position the main light for a portrait of Marquis.
A little pow-wow between frames.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Timney Triggers, make the image, ask the question.

John Vehr on Robotic floor of his Phoenix facility.

      Whew! Another Spring, another frenetic round of commercial mini-shoots for clients of National Bank of Arizona for their spring campaign.

     While all of the clients were great to work with, John Vehr, owner of Timney Triggers is one who stands out.
A crew at work.

     Vehr's company manufactures aftermarket triggers for firearm enthusiasts. His crew create their products from scratch, using robots to cut the parts from blocks of aluminum and then assembling each product by hand. 

     When I saw the assembly area I knew just what I wanted from my photograph, but wondered if  some changes might be possible to create a better photographic environment.

     I almost hesitated to ask.

     It might be too disruptive, I thought.

     But the lesson here is, always ask. Sometimes they say, "whatever you want to do."

Assembly line reassembled int eh middle to allow umbrella and bounce for soft natural look.
     I wondered if we might move the assembly stations to the middle of the room, to provide more space for lighting gear to insert light to make a better image.

Checking in with his crew. Second view almost same lighting scheme.
     The crew assembled product at workstations along a wall, facing the wall,  not entirely ideal in inserting soft light to ensure that I could clearly see a complete line.

     So I asked.

     "Whatever you want to do," Vehr replied.
Lighting scheme allowed for other detail images
with little or no change in light scheme.

     It allowed more effective positioning of light around the subjects, using the wall and windows as a giant reflector to send a wall of soft while light into the subjects evenly while also providing space to position an umbrella directly opposite Vehr to subtly wrap my primary light source around him singling him out among his crew.

     The extra space also allows me to step back further from the table and use a short telephoto lens to "compress" all of the elements together as I more easily look down the line of work stations.  This also allows me to put my primary subject, John where he is comfortable, among his crew.

     Additionally, this set-up created a whole zone in the room where I could also make some detail images and some frames from another angle of Vehr interacting with employess while making little or no changes to the light scheme, making for a much more efficient creation of a whole series of images.

      Thanks to John and his crew for a great day at work!
Vehr makes sure his crew is happy, and their hard work keeps his company humming and happy.