Tag Archives: Love

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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An October wedding – Southern style!

Last month I was privileged to attend and photograph my partner’s son’s wedding near Kingsport, Tennessee. The wedding was organised and styled by April and Jon with lots of help and support from their families. It was held at lakeside venue run by the venerable Katie and was a stunningly beautiful day, with the sunshine and location bringing many and varied photographic challenges!

A fun celebration of love, joy and family, the entire day was brimful of laughter. I even managed to slip into a couple of the group photos but most of the day was incredibly busy as so much happened – processionals, dollar dances, cake-cutting, group dancing and a host of other moments – many traditions completely new to me. Hospitality was typically Southern with delicious food and drinks flowing throughout the evening. Favours and gifts were very personal and included jars of handmade apple butter, a local speciality. It was a delightful day and a pleasure to photograph; my very best wishes to April and Jon for a wonderful life together.

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Appreciation …

It’s raining and extremely miserable in the south of England. Not quite the floods and pestilence we’d expected (!) but horrible nevertheless. Hopefully Santa is heading this way, suitably kitted out for floods, as I have been very good … honestly!

While for some people the weather has had a really devastating effect and my heart goes out to them; for most of us it’s just frustrating. Another complaint to add to traffic jams, Christmas shoppers and “trolley rage” as we head towards Christmas and the annual frenzy of consumerism that marks a Western festive season.

It is worth stopping for a moment though. Just breathing deeply and appreciating what you have. Savouring the small things that make life worth living …. a loving hug, a roaring fire, coffee beans, my mum’s smile, a favourite song on the radio … oh I don’t know! … there is a multitude of small but precious moments that make you want to get up in the morning … yours will be different from mine.

Notice them, you’ll feel good!

I’m not quite sure where I’m headed with this! Perhaps all I want to say is:

Merry Christmas and I hope we all have a Peaceful and Happy New Year

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Young boy in Northern Thailand

It’s all about the kids ..

This trip has made me think even more about what’s appropriate to post when meeting and learning about other people around the world. In the UK we are all about privacy and model releases and respect for our subjects, yet somehow that seems to be thrown out the window as we travel in other countries. It’s as if everyone is fair game for the photographer. People are often treated as if they were animals in a zoo, there for the pleasure of the traveller rather than real people.

Exploring other cultures is a rich and varied experience and as I’ve said before, one you hope is rewarding for the people, you encounter as well as yourself. We have certainly tried to ensure that on this trip, requesting (with sign language mainly!) permission to shoot, sharing the images afterwards and ensuring there is full engagement where possible. People in the hill tribes have been open, friendly and hospitable. One girl in a market gave me bananas as a thank you for taking her photo. People always laugh or grimace with wry humour when shown their image. They laugh at us, a lot! A woman behind me muttered “photo, chicken, photo” whilst shaking her head in bemusement. Sometimes we are the entertainment I suspect.

The tribes here are migrants from China, Burma and Laos mainly, having settled in Northern Thailand over many generations. The Akha, Karen, Yao, Lisu, Lahu and Hmong among others all have their different identities, dress and food. Some get along, others don’t. In the main though their lives are hard, much harder than most of us can imagine. Their food, while delicious, is hard come by and tends to be rice based .. or just rice. They scrape a living, have limited or no access to education or medical assistance.

But the people we met were generous and friendly. The kids were delighted to have us to play with. They loved being photographed and seeing their pictures. Their parents looked on with amusement. I hope they know we are taking these images with love and a good heart …

Ultimately the trip is all about the kids …

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