Rwanda, here I come.
Sometimes, opportunities come along that you can't help but go for. This August, I get to spend the first two weeks of my social work internship at Unseen in Rwanda learning the ins and outs of humanitarian photography from Benjamin Edwards at his The Heart and The Hands workshop.
This comes after a long season of surrendering to God my travel plans and overseas dreams. It also comes during a season of dreaming about pursuing humanitarian photography at a greater level. Eventually, as much as I love weddings + portraits, I'd love to primarily be shooting for nonprofits + social good brands. My background is in social work and my heart is in missions. I love photography, but for me, it's part of a bigger picture of being able to fund the things that God has placed on my heart to do during my time on earth.
That looks like starting a nonprofit working with local women in the sex industry. That looks like empowering women to rise out of cycles of poverty. That looks like messy crying with people and inviting them into my home and life. That looks like taking care of children who are vulnerable. Photography gives me the flexible schedule and income to make that happen.
I wrestle sometimes with the glamorous short term vs. the nitty gritty everyday heroism. I understand that it's a heck of a whole lot easier to travel to Africa for a few weeks to photograph amazing work than to devote decades upon decades of your life to serving people in daily life. However, my approach to this trip and humanitarian photography is that God would use me in the talents that He's given me to do whatever I can in this season of my life. Right now, I'm committed to calling Fargo home and the city I'm meant to serve as my primary ministry. But if God can use me to love the nations in some way in the midst of this season? Sign me up.
The Head and The Heart workshop allows me to blend my love of creative storytelling with my passion for making an impact in the world. It's not only educational, but hugely relational as we get to learn how to love people at a deeper level through photography.
This trip is a huge financial sacrifice. As a soon-to-be college grad, an entrepreneur, and nonprofit founder - I'm definitely not rolling in extra money. To be able to fund my time in Rwanda, I'm offering 30 (yes THIRTY) mini sessions this summer with dates in 7 cities. They'll be $200 for 20 minutes + 20 images with ALL proceeds going to this trip. Minis can be used for portraits, families, roommates, couples, or even your dog if that's really your jam.
Please share with friends or family that may be interested! "Normal" sessions will still be used to fund my rent + utility bills as usual, but these minis are an awesome opportunity to give back and get involved in the process. Any tips for photography services this summer will also go towards the costs. You can also follow along with the journey on instagram with #LivTakesRwanda and at @Livstories.
Thank you for all the support that you as my community and clients have already been - towards my dreams in photography as well as in the nonprofit world! You all make this possible and have such a huge part to play.
Lots of love,
P.S. If anyone wants to donate gas cards to cover traveling to these minis, you'd be my hero.