Photography with a Purpose

When Your Images Touch a HeART

So often you here people talking about “taking your photography to the next level” its actually become a bit cliche. But I honestly can’t think of another way to describe the experience I’ve had while working on a special project for The HeART Project. The HeART Project is all about trying to bring a little joy to families that may of had a tough run, through the art of photography. I’ve volunteered to work on a number of projects since the HeART Project began in April 2016 and have had the privilege of working with some very gifted photographers and digital artists. 

A bit more than 6 months ago I was approached by Yvette Martinette, also a photographer and HeART Project volunteer, about an idea she had for a project –  something a bit post apocalyptic. A shoot we could collaborate on. 

 When two worlds collide

Yvette’s idea involved creating a story involving Alex, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was 14 years old. The side effects that Alex had to endure during the treatment were as severe as the Leukaemia itself and included, amongst many other things, two strokes. Yvette and I agreed that our project must tell the story of the battles that Alex had to fight…and win!

I had previously done a number of photoshoots within the post apocalyptic gene and had some contacts that I knew would be able to assist. We reached out to Ken Abbott from Kenaz Concepts, who produces and on-line video series called Scavengers of the Scarlet Wastes. Yvette and I sat with Ken and told him about our project and he was immediately on-board. Ken provided his experience as a Creative Director, a wonderful collection of costumes, props and post apocalyptic weaponry and most importantly, 30 cast members who were also eager to participate in the project. 

The massive shoot was done over two days in two iconic Sydney locations. Alex arrived on set and was instantly made to feel welcomed by the cast, who are some of the nicest, most creative people I have had the pleasure of working with. The shoot was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, but the sun set on day two of shooting it was time to head back to the studio to edit the images…thats where the education began!


Going to the next level

Once I began reviewing the images, I knew we had something special. The images were exactly what we wanted to capture, a representation of the battles Alex had to fight. But as we got close to finishing the editing and preparing to show the images to Alex and present the completed project to The HeART project, we realised there were blogs to write, videos to make, music to acquire and launches to schedule. These were elements that I had not been part of in previous projects we volunteered for. So, I spent five days locked away in my little studio learning how to use iMovie, how to acquire licensed music and how to splice it into the video. Being involved in this very personal project prompted me to learn so many new skills, to push my art in a direction I hadn’t thought of before.

So, is that how I took my photography to a new level? Not at all. My photography went to a new level because this project wasn’t about earning money or about how many Facebook likes I could get. It was all about bringing a little joy to someone who had a rough time with day to day life. It was because my photography had a purpose. 

All of The HeART Projects I have been involved in have been the most rewarding experiences. Having the privilege of being allowed to tell Alex’s story is something I will personally cherish.

A special thanks to: Yvette Martinette for inviting me to work on this project with her, the wonderfully creative cast and crew from Scavengers of the Scarlet Wastes, Ken Abbott from Kenaz Concepts & creator of the Scavenger’s on-line series, and to Jessica Luna for all of her wonderful organisation and commitment throughout the planning and shooting. A very special thanks to Karen Alsop from Story Art and one of the founders of The HeART Project. Her dedication and commitment touches the lives of so many people. 
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Brian Bird
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