As I continue to immerse myself in the photographic industry I’ve become aware of a common trait in photographers: the desire to give something back to society.
I’m not sure why this happens and I haven’t researched it either. Maybe it's because something kicks in when you start documenting life? Like a responsibility to use your talent to make a difference. In any case I don’t actually want to research it because I feel that same desire, it feels natural and that’s the way it should be, right?
I’ve seen many personal and pro bono projects that photographers undertake. Many of them highlight causes, needs, and peril in their communities that most of us would otherwise never be aware of. Others continue the momentum of major pleas for help, such as Brisbane's Marcus Bell who is fundraising to help those affected by the recent devastating Queensland floods.
As a baby photographer I’m absolutely fascinated by the miracle of new life and the immense joy it usually brings. I say usually because the story doesn’t always end well. Tragically some parents find themselves dealing with the heart crushing reality of stillbirths and extremely short life expectancies for their babies.
In situations like these, photographs of babies become arguably even more important as they capture the tiny fraction of the time they should have been granted. To be honest, I didn’t come to this conclusion by myself. I mean, who wants to think about things like this right? Surely we just want to record the smiles, the giggles, the happy times?
But when I heard about a society of Australian child photographers called Heartfelt who offer their services for this very reason - to preserve those precious final moments - something clicked inside me and I knew I had to join them.
This amazing group of people give up their time to respond to emergency situations, often at very short notice, and ask for nothing in return.
Having just completed my first assignment I can testify that the work is definitely challenging but extremely rewarding at the same time. The term bitter-sweet never rang truer, but either way I’m glad I’m doing it.
And fortunately word of Heartfelt is spreading. Many child photographers have recently joined and a few very generous print suppliers have offered to donate their services. Most importantly however, more parents are hearing about us.
If you’re a photographer and interested in joining Heartfelt, or if you would like to donate or just find out more, please visit Heartfelt’s website.