Update: After I posted this blog, the Seattle SMUG received a letter thanking us for our efforts.
I always believed that photographer’s have a gift, and on occasion, should use that gift to help lift the spirit of others. I wrote about this in a previous post Volunteering is a Good Thing: It Strengthens Your Community.
This past week, I had the privilege of volunteering for a cancer survivor portrait shoot. The Seattle Smug Mug User’s Group (Seattle SMUG) which I am asst. coordinator for, held a two day portrait session at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., for survivor’s of cancer.
These ranged from head shots to large group photos. The organizer of the event was my good friend and Seattle photographer Erin Kohlenberg. She did a wonderful job getting everything together. As she stated once: “This will put my project management experience to good use.”
A few days ago, the Seattle SMUG received this letter:
“I just wanted to tell you a WONDERFUL story.
One of our cancer patients just passed away. I was talking with his wife today and she was telling me the family photo that your team gifted her was at the patient’s memorial service and everyone was telling her what a precious gift it was to have the fa
mily photo and how wonderful the patient looked in the photo (although the wife told me he was feeling horrible the day of the photo shoot).
This photo project you took on has made a world of difference for so many of our patients and this is just one small story.
Thank you and I hope this project can continue.”
During the two day event, Seattle photographers Henry Lingat, John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Ilona Berzups, Wenmei Hill, and others, not only provided their talent, but also provided the necessary lighting equipment to do a good job.
On the digital editing team, Paul Gibbons, Mitch Reinitz, Seattle SMUG Leader Earnie Glazener, and others spent the time with each family to edit the images and provide a selection for their personal use.
CoCo & Co. Hair Salon provided excellent service in the hair styling and makeup department. Owner Nathan Panuco coordinated makeup artist Antonio Cejudo and stylists Lili Carlson and Kim Hicks.
It was a simple flow. Each survivor signed in, had their hair and makeup professionally done, moved onto their portrait session, and then went to a station with someone skilled in editing to help them chose which image they wanted as their complimentary 16×20 professionally printed masterpiece, which is generously provided by Bay Photo out of San Francisco.
They were also given a CD of the high res images of their choice, and those sized for the web. No photographers copyright, no watermarks, these were a gift from the photographers and volunteers.
It was incredible watching the clients view the images as the editor went through them. They were amazed at the images and it was good for the soul to see such happiness in their eyes. Some have not even had their hair nor makeup done in quite some time.
The actual location of the shoot was in the lobby of the Baroness Hotel across the street. Not only did the hotel provide space for the event, we had several caterers provide food and drinks. Seattle vendors Stuffed Cakes, Starbucks, Take 5 Market, Tom Douglas Catering, Noah’s Bagels, and Eltana Wood-Fired Bagles provided food and refreshments.
It was a good time for all. for more behind-the-scenes photos, follow this link: Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Shoot
But the most important thing was seeing the smiles on the faces of the survivors and their families. Those moments, now captured for them.
Special Thanks to everyone involved:
Thank you to the wonderful volunteers, organizers and donors for the Virginia Mason Cancer Care Survivors Photoshoot. Links to photos from this awesome event to come soon.
John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Paul Conrad, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups
Assistants, Editors, Behind the scenes photographers, Greeters and general help:
Anne Mills, Arnie Cohen, David Loseno, Diana Alvarado, Doug Bulger, Earnie Glazener, Erik Zakarian (Video!), Francine Scott, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups, Iris Dumuk, Jess Villanueva, Kamella Boulle, Kelly Hasenoerhrl, Lori Davis-Sandoval, Maris Gerard, Mitch Reinitz, Nat Seymour, Paul (Pablo) Conrad, Paul Gibbons, Ron Yeh, Sara Burgess, SuJ’n Chon, Susan Schroeter, Susie Carey, Terri Christensen, Wenmei Hill.
Hair & Makeup:
Organizing Help from Virginia Mason:
Meredith Kennedy, Nancy Tyler
Earnie Glazener for coming up with the idea
John Cornicello and Henry Lingat for the use of their portrait lights and backdrops
Thank you to the organizations who donated food:
Extra Thanks to Francine Scott for bringing Starbucks Coffee & breads.
Virginia Mason Foodservice
Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.
Paul “pablo” Conrad