Firefly Imageworks

Many Hopes: A Story Worth Sharing

October 16, 2012

Above is the video I just had the pleasure of producing with the rest of my team in the Many Hopes’ DC Chapter. Give it a spin, then have a read below. Its a rare moment when a job became more than a job, and if you’ll follow along with me, you might find something worth investing in too.

Life, boiled down, is the collection of stories we choose to get caught up in. Be they faith-based, relational, occupational, or whatever combination it may be, we tend to enter into the stories that compel us most; that we not only get the most out of, but we can be of the most value to as well. For me, Many Hopes’ story is definitely that. In it, I found a bit more of myself within a story worth investing in. A lot in. (read more…)

The Five Homes Named Hovde

January 21, 2012

One of my most exciting collaborations of last year was photo and video work with the Hovde Foundation. I first met their Executive Director, Jeffrey Boyd, through One Home Many Hopes where he saw the video work I’d done for them and thought my style would be a good fit for Hovde’s efforts as well.

Those efforts? The building of homes for orphaned, abused, and/or abandoned street children in Latin America and Africa. They’ve built five so far, partnering each time with incredibly inspirational people and organizations on the ground. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and shooting four of their homes (Kenya and Rwanda in 2010 and Ghana and Mexico in 2011). In fact that one blog I’ve done since April was about the trip to Ghana. A video for Sunwest Bank, showcasing the employees that helped with the construction of the home there, also materialized not long after. (read more…)

A Week in Ghana | Hovde, Sunwest, + Challenging Heights

September 16, 2011
Ghanian Fishing Boat

Ghanian Fishing Boat

A couple weeks back, as I was literally in the middle of a morning of cleaning up debris leftover from a tree that fell on the studio during Hurricane Irene, I received a pretty wild email from Jeff Boyd at the Hovde Foundation. He was in Ghana and had a number of volunteers from Sunwest Bank flying in to help build a home for children there. Having enjoyed the work I did on a quick video showcasing the house the Foundation helped build in Kenya, Jeff asked if I was available for a week photos and video production work in Ghana starting that Friday. Pretty last second stuff, eh? Well, after checking my schedule, apologizing the clients who’s work I’d have to delay a bit, and lucking out when it came to getting a Ghanian visa in time, I was on my way.

Once on the ground, not only did I have the privilege of getting to know an entirely new country on the western side of Africa, and making a number of new friends in the amazing team from Sunwest, but I was also able to get to know more about the amazing work James Kofi Annan and his organization, Challenging Heights, was doing to end child-slavery in the country.

You see, in Ghana, despite its illegality, the impoverished conditions so many live in lead to parents selling their own children to fishermen for around $40. For the most part, parents do this with the fisherman promising to teach the child a trade and suggesting a better life and future for the child, so in addition to the financial benefit, many parents believe they’re doing what’s in their child’s best interest. Still some do it merely for the benefit and the alleviation of responsibility too. The reasons are varied, but well-intentioned or not, these children end up in a situation that leads to tremendous psychological and physical abuse and far too often death. (read more…)

Maikel, Jennifer, & My Poor, Misty Eyes

April 6, 2011

Maikel & Jennifer

You might recall that in December, after three weeks of shooting video and photos in Africa, I got stuck in Belgium for four days due to some pretty crazy winter weather. Well, odd as it may sound, this unfortunate delay is where the story of my most recent wedding shoot began, and through a series of unplanned and fortuitous events, that delay inevitably led me to to Ellicott City, MD on a beautiful Sunday in March. Funny how things work out.

My flight had been delayed until the 25th. That morning, I was meant to take a taxi from the hotel Continental Airlines put me up at in Brussels. I’d already felt a bit put out by the prospect of flying home four days late on Christmas Day and missing time with family while in the air, but just to make matters worse, the taxi never showed for its scheduled 8:30am pickup. The hotel Concierge called the taxi company, fussing frustratedly on my behalf in French, but it was no use. With an hour and a half until boarding time, I had no taxi nor any idea how else to get to the airport on the snow-covered Brussels streets. (read more…)

Arts in the Digital Alley

February 28, 2011
Arts in the Alley's new website!

Arts in the Alley's new website!

Since 2008, I’ve been partnering with Offering, a Richmond, VA based non-profit band, to capture their amazing Arts in the Alley (AITA) initiative in photos. Through two iterations, AITA has literally taken me around the world and back, with the first being held right here in downtown Richmond and the second in a migrant worker neighborhood in Beijing, China. The events’ focus is to take a normal run-down alley, spend a day cleaning it up, and then a second day painting beautiful murals; all while throwing a vibrant arts festival with music and visual art. The idea is that this will not only serve as a fun, creative weekend for those in attendance, but also crime rates have been proven to decline when an urban area is revitalized, so there’s a lasting positive effect as well.

The newest AITA is coming up on March 12-13, and in preparation for the next event, Offering’s band leader, Jeanine Guidry, asked me to design a new website that could operate as a great place to showcase the work that’s been done before, but also serve as a digital staging ground for volunteers at new AITA events; all while trying to capture the vibrant spirit of the events themselves in the design. (read more…)

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