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