Tag Archives: Charity

Luca Love – a family run business full of heart

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I was extremely excited to join another Momenta Workshops trip last October, travelling to Colombia to provide photographic services to Luca Love. This opportunity was long-awaited. A chance to visit South America again – Colombia in particular – and learn more from Momenta “guru” Chris Anderson. Irresistible! We comprised a small group of four students, our Colombian expert, Emanuel Echeverri and of course, Chris. We were based in Medellin, a city which has fortunately outgrown its reputation for being the drug capital of Colombia. There are still areas not safe to travel in as a tourist but it is increasingly visited by travellers from all over the world. There is a museum of work by the Colombia artist and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose work I have loved for years and it was a special treat to see the massive sculptures in Plaza Botero and his paintings and smaller sculptures inside the gallery.

But my main activity was working with local family-run buiness Luca Love, a fairly new organisation set up by Paulina Tobin (based in Houston) and her sister Daniela and mother Marleny in Rio Negro, Colombia. Marleny’s husband Jorge is also involved behind the scenes. Luca Love sells bracelets made by local women around Rio Negro, about an hour’s travel south of Medellin. Marleny designs the bracelets and teaches the artisans how to make them. By visiting the women to deliver materials and collect finished work she enables them to work from home and still look after their families. Luca Love currently funds an English teacher to work in the local school in La Esmeralda and have provided other local community support on an ad-hoc basis. Currently they are developing their product line and growing their small business to be able to put more of the profits back into the local community.

My task was to spend time with Marleny and her artisans and also visit the school benefiting from Luca Love’s support. I could then provide a portfolio of images to be used in marketing, blogging and on the Luca Love website. With regular technical and planning guidance from Chris, I built relationships locally with those involved and created lots (and lots) of images. I was able to see the process from design and selection of the beads through to seeing Marleny train the women in new designs and then watch them making the jewellery and gift bags. I spent time with the children in their English class and in the playground and local swimming pool and met many of the parents and teachers. The kids loved practising their English while teasing me about my funny Spanish! The final selection of images delivered to Luca Love are those that Paulina and her team can use to create visuals that tell the story of Luca Love. They illustrate its inception, its purpose and the direction they are headed in. It is a very exciting new venture for the family and the community.

Below are some of the images from this collaboration and I will blog again with more about this project. For me it was extremely rewarding; I met many fascinating and friendly people, I improved my Spanish, enjoyed excellent wines and delicious food and I improved my story-telling photography skills. I also made new amigos (!) among my fellow students and Marleny, her family and friends. It was a really wonderful trip.

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These images were taken on the Momenta Project Colombia Workshop 2016 in Medellin, Colombia. Photo © Laura Morgan/Momenta Workshops 2016.

These images were taken on the Momenta Project Colombia Workshop 2016 in Medellin, Colombia. Photo © Laura Morgan/Momenta Workshops 2016.

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Charity begins at home!

Although I’ve experienced some really exciting opportunities to photograph for non-profit organisations overseas, I also help out here in the UK (which some of my friends have noted, I should do more of as charity begins at home!)  Recent work has been in support of friends who are fundraising or have charities dear to their hearts. So I’m sharing a selection from some of these events.

Climb Kili for Cornerstone involves four close friends who are bravely (madly!?) climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for Cornerstone. It’s a charity that supports vulnerable children and adults throughout Scotland – broadening their opportunities and helping them live rewarding and meaningful lives. Fundraising for the trip has included tea parties, cocktails and gourmet dining, silent auctions, supper dances, pop-up shops and a myriad of other fun events. Ann and Antonia Chapman and Lisa and Steve Duthie have all committed to raise more than the minimum required to fund their trips and it’s hard work! Plus the training and preparation – phew, I really admire them. Helping with the fundraising is my contribution; I’m far too worried about freezing my toes off on a mountaintop to join in … but I wish them all the best of luck!

Ladies Tea Party at the Fourmile, Kingswells, Aberdeen

Ladies Tea Party at the Fourmile, Kingswells, Aberdeen

"Bag a Mountain" Supper Party at the Aberdeen Douglas (featuring the Scottish Cup!)

“Bag a Mountain” Supper Party at the Aberdeen Douglas (featuring the Scottish Cup!)

Motor Neurone Disease is a devastating diagnosis and the Motor Neurone Disease Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning. MNDA is a powerful national and local network that provides information and support alongside fighting for improved services. Volunteer Carol Reiley, working with fitness instructor Becky Stevens held an open “FitSteps” class in the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath to raise money for the charity. FitSteps is a dance orientated fitness class created by Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe of “Strictly Come Dancing” fame and Carol was fortunate to lure Ian to Mid-Sussex to co-lead the class. People of all shapes, sizes and ages Rumba’d, Salsa’d and generally had a marvellous time while raising money for this superb organisation.

Ian Waite and Becky Stevens lead the FitStep class.

Ian Waite and Becky Stevens lead the FitStep class.

Ian and Becky showing their slick moves!

Ian and Becky showing their slick moves!

Home-Start is a leading family support charity and Gette Cobban the Scheme Manager in Aberdeen asked if I would provide images the charity could use locally on their publicity material and to launch a new campaign. The photo session was carried out at the George Street charity shop which is so professional, well stocked and dressed that it belies the image that many people have of charity outlets. The Aberdeen branch was a finalist on the Grampian Award for Business Excellence this year and from what I saw, it is well deserved. Representatives from Aberdeen Football Club, volunteers, staff and trustees all played their part in a fun morning (as we dodged the sun and wind!)

The Home-Start shop in George Street, Aberdeen

The Home-Start shop in George Street, Aberdeen

The Home-Start shop in George Street, Aberdeen

The Home-Start shop in George Street, Aberdeen

Address Unknown …

Address Unknown is raising money for the participative photography charity “PhotoVoice“. I submitted an image (along with hundreds of other photographers) – find it here, amongst all the others, some of which may be by really famous people (ooooooo how exciting!) and therefore worth a lot of money. You will only find out who took the photo after you have bought it!  Only £10.00 each – worth a punt!? All for charity …

Address Unknown – excerpt from the website: “There is a great revolution, thousands or even millions of people are going about taking photographs of what they notice and showing the world, whether to inspire, illuminate, educate, articulate, or just to somehow share how they feel – they are like Photo Postcards sent all over the world.

There are two women behind Address Unknown, both photographers in their own way, and friends. They have worked together on several projects with and for each other. They thought, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a space for those photographs to be shown together, every picture sitting next to each other in equality no matter where they come from in the world, or who took them?”

An exhibition that would reveal the shared and the different experiences of our world’s cultures and environments. There could be great understanding leading to unexpected acts of kindness and gratitude and souls would dance for joy.

Melanie Gow is a mother, editor, author, filmmaker, writer, photographic artist, and cultural events organiser. Her father bought the brand new Pentax Asahi Spotmatic the year she was born. He handed her that camera when she was 6 years old and she had seen the world through a lens one way or another ever since. “I grew up watching him take endless pictures of our world – my life. It took his death for me to realise he didn’t just hand me a camera, he gave me the way I understand the world. Behind a lens I feel articulate. I barely think about it. It’s like breathing.”

Gill Aspel is a Fine Art, events and wedding photographer. As a young girl without a camera she would spend hours browsing through family photos asking who was who, and when and where such photos were taken – getting the story behind each one. “I remember the first time I wanted to become a photographer, I was working in Shanghai for three weeks and was astounded by the city – having forgotten my camera I decided to buy a few postcards. But they didn’t show what I saw. I realised that I needed a camera of my own and went out and bought one. I was then able to spend all my free time exploring the city and capturing it as I saw it.”

Address Unknown

Snapshot from the Address Unknown website

 

Tracey Sawyer of Testigo Africa

Tracey Sawyer, Director of Testigo Africa.

“My love and passion for travel has meant that my CV is full of gaps between jobs!  Over 80 countries later, the gaps became longer and longer as my idea of adventurous travel started to include lengthy stays in places where the people touched my heart. One of those places is Longido village in Tanzania. I first visited Tanzania in 2004 when I was on safari, and I discovered that much as I loved seeing the African animals, it was the Masai who really captured my imagination. Four months later I returned to Tanzania to witness a coming of age ceremony in Longido, and that’s when Namnyak and I became great friends. I now have my own mud hut next to Namnyaks, and it’s my friendship with her that has inspired me to respond to their request for help in a water project by giving up my career as a lawyer to make the project happen for the village so I can give back to these amazing people.”

Testigo Projects Inc, a not-for-profit incorporated association works at a grass roots level on long-term sustainable development projects that empower the communities in which they’re undertaken and educate the world about their culture through project involvement, publications and documentary films.

Find out more: www.testigoafrica.org