I had the opportunity to give back this Christmas through a fundraiser started called Portraits for Aleppo. Credit goes to my photographer friend Carrie King for coming up with the idea! Over the course of a week, several photographers volunteered to hold mini sessions at various locations around the United States. Mini sessions were by donation with 100 percent of proceeds going to organizations working with Syrian refugees. Organizations included Preemptive Love, Together Rising, Doctors Without Borders, Syrian American Medical Society and Mennonite Central Committee.
I was one of the photographers and this was the first time I have ever done mini sessions like these. In case you aren't familiar with mini sessions, it's basically a very short (5-15 minute) photo session in one location. The advantage to this is that you do a lot of sessions in a very short amount of time.
I was blown away by the response, especially given the sleet and rain on Saturday morning, which was when I decided to hold my mini sessions. Thankfully, Frey's Greenhouse was open to us holding our sessions there, which provided awesome holiday backdrops for photographs. Eight different families participated and $1,100 was donated towards the cause! Because of the overwhelming amount of interest, there will be more sessions offered in January. To find out more, visit the website: https://portraitsforaleppo.wordpress.com/ or Facebook page event.
The situation in Syria is heartbreaking. If you are not aware of what is going on, I recommend you watch this four minute video clip. I was in Syria in 2005 on assignment as a photographer for Mennonite Central Committee and so the people and country of Syria are dear to me. I am tentatively planning to hold another session on Sunday, January 15th from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Please contact me if you're interested.