November 24th 2010 Today I had the honor of having one of my photos hand-chosen by world class photographer Russell James for his themed photo entry, "Giving Back". Russell hosts a friendly photo submission contest on his Facebook page which he created to give photographers a place for their work to be seen. He will create a topic to be represented in photographs and then open his page to the public to post their photos on how they interpret that theme.
The theme this time was "Giving Back", since the Thanksgiving holiday was approaching and I believe the idea was to generate more awareness toward giving as opposed to self-indulgence. I wanted to create and enter a photo that represented "giving back" in the usual ways that one thinks if giving back. Perhaps a photo of someone shaking hands with a military person, or volunteering at soup kitchen or helping out at an animal shelter. It can be a real challenge to come up with a compelling image in a short amount of time, especially when you want it be a real capture of giving and not something "posed" or otherwise conjured-up.
I decided on an image I took in Pistoia, Italy of two older women walking down a street, one with a cane needing assistance from the other. They were unaware I was taking their picture, but to me it represented a glimpse of a story. I entitled it simply, "A Daughter Now Helps Her Mother". In this case, it fits "giving back" perfectly. I realized that one area we don't often think of when it comes to giving back is our own parents. They help us throughout our lives, and there comes a day when they will need our help. To me, this photo represents that change. I'm proud to have it chosen among thousands of entries to be one of the final 30.
The public votes on their favorite photo, and the winner gets a copy of Russell's new V2 book. I'm not going to go fishing for votes though, because as much as I would love to have the book, I want this contest to be more about generating momentum in people to give, rather than me winning a contest. I'm grateful and appreciative to have my photo chosen to represent this topic by the eyes of such a master as Russell James.
I hope that this holiday will start becoming more about giving rather than just a day of excess. Gatherings of family, friends and love are important reasons for holidays, however I hope that we can start giving of ourselves as well. When a whole bunch of people do this, it will really turn the world in the right direction.
"Giving Back: A daughter now helps her mother" Italy