3 of 6
This is the third of the six projects I’m working on in October/November! Crazy, I know, but something about the holiday season just makes me really excited.
I remember reading Esther’s blog one day two summers ago when she posted the first announcement for the inaugural Light the World trip. I was sitting on my couch and was so excited; I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was just some random kid unhappy in business school, shooting portraits and friends on the weekend, interning at Microsoft in Seattle and generally having a free and spirited yet unchallenging summer. I distinctly remember my jaw dropping because this was the week I had decided to take a (then) indefinite leave of absence from school and this seemed like the perfect project, if I could somehow get through to shoot along some of the most talented photographers in the space.
I scraped together the best portfolio that I could - most of it was, again, from friends and family - and sent it off with crossed fingers. I threw in a stop-motion video that I had made for fun of my friends and I as well as few random little things. As Austin would later comment (after we’d gone of the trip and become friends IRL), just throw “everything against the wall to see if something will stick, right?”
Something did, and it was the most incredible week. I learned so much about both myself and the world. I met some incredible kids and adults doing brilliant things in Ethiopia. We raised a lot of money for the charity and I’m proud of the stories that we told. I hope that we told them right, because the world should hear them. And the experience changed my life, completely. I guess I could say (at the risk of sound extremely dramatic - but hey, it was a big deal) that I probably wouldn’t be designing right now if it weren’t for that week. It’s one of the most empowering and fulfilling things I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of… and… maybe you can just tell from the photos -
From 2011. Thanks to Abate and his family for having a couple of us over for coffee. And for letting me take their family portrait. <3
This is Solomon. We didn’t speak the same language but we had fun!
Two years later, Esther + Austin are taking a second group to India with JOYN India, and this time I’m doubly excited for their campaign, if that’s even possible. They’re going to be capturing the story in real time, meaning that they’ll all have phones with service and will be uploading from the field to Instagram and Twitter. Isn’t that incredible? We can follow along their experiences. Their journey in capturing others’ stories in itself becomes a beautiful story that we can all watch write itself, the ending unknown.
I’ve been working on Austin to create a site to share this story from. For now, it’s a teaser site with just the bare bones information - they’re going to update it starting Nov 18, the first day of their shoot.
I’m so excited for them. Yay team :)
(And now I feel like my personal LTW experience has come full circle.)