We are photographers. We’re travellers. We’re givers. We’re passionate, creative, adventurous, and hopeful. We seek meaning, purpose, and growth and we leave behind impact, and a legacy. We believe, with all our little hearts, that photography can make a difference. That photographers can make an impact. That people, in general, can use what they have to empower those that have less.
But what does all that really mean? What does it actually look like?
Here was the original though. Photographers love to grow their skills. Photographers, of all skills levels, choose, every day, to take part in workshops, around the world. Photographers are willing to pay for this, because of how much we love our art and love to produce better and more powerful images. We’re an obsessive species, passionate and consumed by our craft, aren’t we?
We thought. We thought, what if? What if we could provide trips that appeal to the type of photographer that wants to grow and learn in a workshop environment? Trips created by photographers, for photographers, that are so unbelievably enticing in location and topic and theme and purpose that you simply can’t refuse?
But what if we took that desire, and refocused it? What if we focused it on a problem, an issue, a need? What if we partnered with an amazing Non-Profits who can identify a tangible way in which a team of ragtag photographers could be of real use? Meaningful, real impacts on everyone involved? To explore photography with those with less, to open the world through the lens up to communities around the world, to help them make room for creativity, to empower them to believe in their abilities to create? Is it about making them into photographers? No. It’s about empowerment, encouragement, creative exploration, self-worth, instilling pride and confidence. Cameras today are amazing – little to no language is needed to use one, little to no education is required, and yet the results are instant, bright, vibrant. And, cheap – NGOs can maintain simple point and shoot with little to no costs to themselves. In short, photography becomes a powerful tool for reaching and empowering all kinds of communities – and we want to make it happen.
And then, along the way, we plan and partake in workshops at drop-dead gorgeous, coveted, bucket-list topping locations, where you work alongside a professional photographer. Can you imagine?
By partnering with a Non-Profit we are also able to provide them with much-needed media of their work. Photos, videos, and more, all documenting their cause, their issues, their work. This is invaluable. Websites today live and die on good media – it’s said you have about 1/3 of a second to get someone’s attention, or not, when they land on your page. One-third, of one second.
And, by coming alongside a Non-Profits, we are allowed and welcomed into intimate situations, seriously off-the-beaten-path moments that few normal tourists would ever experience. Which means as photographers, we are able to take away some seriously original, unique, meaningful, ripe images the share with the world. And we’re not even talking about the workshops.
When it’s all over, we donate back up to 50% of the profits. Cash, in hand, to worthy Non-Profits doing incredible work.
Now we’re on to something.
So, that’s how it happens. We reach out to a Non-Profit that’s caught our attention. A grassroots, empowering Non-Profit that doing meaningful work we admire and want to champion. We identify ways with the Non-Profit to see how we could help. Exactly what we do, and who we serve, and how we help, and what it looks like is different for each time.
Then we plan. We research and plan out everything from unbelievable locations to photograph, to all the logistics, to all the work we will do with the Non-Profit. By photographers, for photographers.
Then we recruit. Teams of incredible, generous, passionate photographers of any and all skills levels – beginners to pros and everything in between.
Next, we prepare. We have team newsletters and form Facebook groups, and help you buy your tickets, pack your bags, and emotionally prepare for the trip.
Then we go! And we have the most incredible, amazing, life-changing trips any photographer could ask for. A flurry of early morning for sunrise, late nights editing, and exhausting, thrilling, meaningful moments in-between. Not only for the workshops that we get to do, the ways in which we grow and learn, but also for what we take away from our days volunteering. You simply cannot ever be the same.
Lastly, we share. The images. The Profits. The moments. The lessons. The experience. It’s win-win-win-win.
And that’s The Giving Lens.