From Kevin Kubota, Kubota Image Tools –
(Such a wonderful read, please do so)
“If you are reading this story, it may be happening for a reason. I’ve experienced the phenomenon many times before and have now come to believe that my intuition is rarely wrong. A little convoluted in its messaging system maybe, but rarely wrong.
If you are a photographer and love what you do, yet have always felt there was something more you could do – like something is missing, I can relate. It’s not necessarily money related (although that surely could be part of it), and it’s not that you don’t love what you do. There’s a gap, an empty spot that needs some filling.
I have a short, slightly magical, story to share with you and a possible solution to your gap.
Quite a few years ago, my buddy, Benjamin, shared some amazing images with me. They were taken during a trip he just completed to Africa, documenting children, orphanages, and the beautiful people of Rwanda. The story of how and why he got there is another very interesting one, but I’ll let him share that with you someday. The significant part of his story, to me, was that he was not there “on assignment” or did he have a direct “mission” to gather and share these photographic stories. He just went, unsure of the outcome.
When I saw his powerful images, I knew almost immediately that I needed to get involved in some way – whether by a monetary donation, helping spread the stories he shared with me, or via my own photography. I didn’t know how yet, but I knew. I was moved to action.
Shortly after that we initiated a fund raiser at WPPI, selling our products and donating profits to a particular orphanage he had documented in Rwanda. We raised a nice sum and wired it directly to the woman who founded the orphanage, who everyone just called, “Mama.”
In short order, I received an email with a video attached. It was Mama, speaking to a cheap donated camera, thanking us profusely for the donations and asking that I come to Rwanda someday to visit her and the children. My wife, Clare, and I watched it together – tears streaming down our faces. Again, we just knew: someday we had to go.
It’s crazy to think about it now, and the story is so wonderful and full of spontaneity, tears, laughter, and an immense opening of our hearts and minds. Several weeks later, we had completed a journey to Rwanda, saw amazing things, met even more amazing people, and returned home to find me standing on stage, in front of hundreds of photographers, finishing up another presentation about Photoshop, workflow, business, or something I can’t even remember.
What I do remember vividly, however, was that at the very end of my presentation I quickly shared the story of my visit to Rwanda and ran a slide show of the images. People clapped, I thanked them, and I proceeded to pack up. A man came up to me through the crowd, with a sense of urgency, and asked if he could speak with me for just a minute. He confessed, “I’m not a photographer and didn’t even see your lecture. I just got here a few minutes before it ended to pick up my wife, who was here to watch you. I only saw your slide show of Rwanda at the end.” He quickly continued, “It was amazing and it gave me an idea. I am doing a presentation tomorrow morning for the Gates Foundation to try to raise money for a charity project we are doing in Africa. If I could show your video, I think it would make the presentation a heck of a lot more powerful.”
“Of course” I said. “I’ll email you a copy of it in a few minutes.”
He got it, used it, and his presentation was a success.
I couldn’t have planned for that to happen, even in my most colorful dreams. When I went to Rwanda with my team, we had no idea what we would do with the images when we returned home, but simply knew we had to share them, and the stories. Sometimes that’s all you can do, and it is vitally important. You can change the world in ways you can’t yet imagine, and often won’t even know you affected change. But you have to have the stories to share in the first place.
I want to invite you to join my team – Benjamin Edwards, Marianne & Andrew Nicodem, and a small group of heart-full photographers on our next journey with Workshops With Purpose. We’ll be heading to Bolivia this time to photograph for Food For The Hungry, and their project called “Little Ones.”
It will change your life, but more importantly it could positively change the lives of many, many others – and that’s what really makes photography rewarding.”