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  • Welcome to our blog!

    Hi! We are a charity organization that travels to impoverished areas, teaches individuals living in the community basic camera skills, helps them capture their world, shares their story online, and sells their artwork. We then give the proceeds back to their community to supply lifeline needs. This is where we tell the stories of the adventures and people we meet - giving you a look at how it all happens. We hope you'll come back often!

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Professional Photographer Magazine Article

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We could not be more thankful for the beautiful article written about The Big Picture Project in the September issue of Professional Photographer magazine.  What an honor to be shared amongst professional photographers who truly understand the value and power of a photograph!

Click on the link below to check it out!!!

Professional Photographer August 2014

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Meet The Project 2 Instructors: Amanda

When co-founders Roger and Karin first discussed the need for fellow instructors to join them for projects, the first person they knew they would call upon would be Amanda.  Amanda has a heart of gold and a passion for people.  She is kind, patient, and wholeheartedly wants to see people succeed.  Amanda was one of the first people Roger and Karin shared this wild and crazy idea of a non profit organization with, and from the very first mention of it –  The Big Picture Project has gotten her unrelenting support.  She’s cheered it’s successes and stood by steadfast and reliable in times of need.  Honest, respectable, virtuous, genuine, sincere… When you think of someone who exhibits the characteristics that are a”good person”, Amanda is the FIRST that comes to mind.  What better person to Capture, Share, Change???
Beyond her compassionate, caring heart – she carries the same passion for photography.  She knows the value photographs bring to a life, and has time and time again donated her brilliant gift to organizations such as NILMDTS, Inspiration Through Art, Unity Lutheran, Little Heroes, and is constantly donating sessions to fundraisers for charities, and gives free sessions to deployed military member’s families.  To say Amanda gives back to the profession that provides for she and her family is an understatement.
She’s a wonderful teacher, and her gift with children is spellbinding.  Amanda isn’t just passionate about life – she’s a champion of “being the change”.  She doesn’t just talk the talk – this woman walks the walk.  We know that she is going to share her gift with these individuals and teach them a new way to see life, but we also know that when she gets on that plane to return home to her family and life in the US – they will have taught her the same.

Please give a warm welcome to another Project 2 instructor who is going to change lives all while fulfilling her soul – Amanda!!!

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* I reside in Collinsville, Illinois, home of the world famous catsup (yes, that is how we spell it here!) bottle and horseradish capital of the world. I have some pretty cute and cool roommates which include handsome hubby Brett, three adorable children, Connor (11), Madelyn (7) and Jackson (3) and one sweet and smelly canine child, Tupper (10).

* What is your favorite movie?: I actually have a few – Ever After, Top Gun, Hocus Pocus, Love Actually, The Holiday

* Favorite food?: Olga’s Snackers. Who is with me on this one? Yummy!

* Favorite place in the whole world: Sitting at home with my family eating pizza and watching a movie. Truly.

* If you were to show your typical day through photos, what would it look like?: A lot of blurry pictures as our children run in and out and a lot of coffee!

* How you use photography professionally: I photograph weddings and lifestyle portrait sessions.

* How you use photography personally: I love to photograph my children and our dog just living life – nothing posed, all unscripted moments.

* Do you remember the first time you ever held a camera?  I remember holding a camera for the first time very vividly. I was in Kindergarten and we were celebrating Christmas. My Godfather bought me a blue Fisher-Price camera. I remember wanting to take pictures of anyone and anything.

* Did you have a lightbulb moment when you knew photography was what you wanted to do?: In my mind I have been a photographer since I first held a camera. It is a lifelong dream and I am so blessed to be living that dream as a successful career.

* If you were not a photographer, what would you be?: I love the coziness, scenes and smell of fall. I would love to open up a shop that when people walked in they would immediately have the feeling of autumn. It would smell of cinnamon, pumpkin and vanilla and I would sell beautiful decorating items, soaps,  and coffees – all fair trade of course! There would be a big white oak table with games for kids while moms shopped and a soft chenille rocking chair for nursing mothers (of course right by a coffee machine!).

* How was creativity a part of your childhood?: I feel that growing up in the 80′s, before electronics became so prominent, gave us an advantage of being creative, which kids don’t get as much now. I loved being outside and creating outdoors whether through play or art. There were no video games, smart-phones, etc. I was also blessed to go to a parochial school that is very invested in the arts. I had amazing art and music classes growing up that have helped shaped my creativity in my adult years.

  * Besides photography, how is it currently a part of your life?: I love to decorate and that comes to no surprise to anyone that knows me. I feel everyone should have a beautiful and comfortable space to live in.

* Where do you find inspiration personally and professionally?: Jesus, my kids and the goodness of others. There is way more good than evil. If you focus on the beauty of life and others you will see that goodness and set a shining example for others.

* If your home were on fire (god forbid) and you could only grab 5 photos in time to save them – what photos would they be?   The first photo that comes to mind is a picture of me and my grandfather when I was a baby. I would then grab the first photo of my family after I had Jack, the photo of my family on our beach vacation this year, a photo of Brett and I kissing and Connor gagging that Roger took a few years back and probably a wedding photo. This is really hard!

* In what ways do you think you contribute to something bigger than yourself?:  I pray that I am raising my kids to grow up to be respectful, giving, hard-working, loving and responsible individuals. By investing in them with my whole heart, I believe that I can raise three people that could make a difference in this world.

 * Do you see your involvement in photography to be a catalyst for change?: Yes! When I made the commitment to be in business my main goal was to give back somehow. There are numerous ways to do this. Next week alone I am donating my time twice. It isn’t hard to find ways to help others. If you open your eyes and your heart you will find ways to give back to the world.

 * Have you traveled much abroad?: Nope! But I hope to change that once Jack gets older.

* What do you hope to see during your travels in Nicaragua? Ah, there is so much. I hope to see a change in my heart and I hope to form relationships with others that live a totally different life than I do.

* What do you hope to show to camera sponsors and the public from Project 2? I think that this is the closest way to visit a 3rd world country without actually traveling there. Photos are amazing in that they are captured life. You can almost smell and taste the air in some photographs. I am hoping that what I capture changes someones heart and that they are inspired to give back.

* What do you look forward to the most while being an instructor?  I could write a book to answer this question! When Karin and Roger first told me they were starting BPP I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The people of Nicaragua have this spirit and love in their eyes I have never seen before. I am looking forward to not only teaching them but more importantly learning from them. These people have so much to give and if I can help them have a voice in some way, shape or form then my cup overfloweth. That is what I am most looking forward to.

* What do you look forward to the least?: Hand’s down seeing children living in a dump. I can’t imagine anything worse. I don’t know if you remember the photo of the three-year-old boy digging for food. Most of us have or have had a three-year-old at one point. I can’t imagine a child digging for food in a dump. It is hard to fathom.

* What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?: I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and live with their heart and not money. When I go to Nicaragua I will be visiting with my entire heart. If I can give the gift of love and acceptance, and teach of the art of photography, I will leave full. I have a feeling after this trip that the legacy I hope to leave my children will be much fuller. I anticipate I will learn more from these beautiful, spirited people than I could ever give them!

* You will have been on both sides of the coin after this trip, so in your own words please describe what someone who sponsors a camera should expect.  Why should they do it?:
Point blank they should do this because it is an amazingly awesome experience like no other. Like I mentioned before, this is the closest thing one can do, without actually traveling to a third-world-country in person. I felt tremendous joy every night when my family checked to see what Ana learned or to find out a little more about her life. I felt as if she was part of our family and I am proud of that. In America we are rich in material things and our kids need to see how others live around the world ,and even in our very own country, who have very little to call their own. My kids were inspired to live with less and have changed their attitudes dramatically.
The entire time I was doing this project all I could think is how amazing this would be for a school or teacher to share with their classroom daily. One person making a small donation could change the heart and open up a whole new world to many children. Imagine the kids going into class every morning and checking in on their photographer. That is just a super cool thing.
We all share the same blood and all come from the same thread. We were all created with a purpose. What is your purpose and imprint in this world? 

Come see Amanda’s imprint on the world by Sponsoring A Camera.  I guarantee,there isn’t a better person to see the experience through!  When Sponsoring A Camera, simply add Amanda in the notes area of the check out to see Project 2 through her eyes!!

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Meet the Project 2 Instructors: Kelsi

We would like to proudly introduce our team of instructors joining us on Project 2 – the first of which is Kelsi!!
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Kelsi will be coming along not only to play a part in the instruction process of our 4 photographers, but this talented young lady will also be capturing video each day of the process.  Kelsi is an extremely talented photographer and videographer, and having both of those skills along for this project is going to strengthen our ability to share incredibly.  This girl radiates joy and is a breath of fresh air.  Her compassion for others is inspiring, and we couldn’t be more fortunate to have her talents along for project 2!

Please learn a little more about Kelsi in this interview, as well as through Sponsoring A Camera.  Should you choose to see this journey through her eyes and perspective, simply include “Kelsi” under the notes area as you check out, and you will be able to see her unique perspective and first hand accounts of all the action!!

 

Tell us about your family life (pets/spouse/kids/ etc): I currently live in St Louis MO with my soon to be husband and best friend Chris, and our handsome chiweenie, Mason!

 

What is your favorite movie?: Moulin Rouge “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”

 

Favorite food?: Fried pickles!

 

Favorite place in the whole world: I’ve hardly traveled the world, but at this current moment I love Wyoming and its wide open spaces!

 

If you were to show us your typical day through photos, what would it look like?: It would begin with a hot cup of coffee and end with a glass (or two) of wine and there would be lots of crafting and outdoor adventure in-between!

 

How do you use photography professionally:Professionally, I try to photograph each session as its own individual story.I want the audience to “feel” as much as they’re seeing in the photos I take so that they’re not only pieces of paper hung up on their wall, but tangible memories.

 

How do you use photography personally: My favorite book states, “”There’s nothing wrong with shooting smiles, but life isn’t a marketing campaign. More interesting stuff is going on.” (The Unforgettable Photograph). The more interesting “stuff”- that’s what comes to mind when I think of my personal photography-the in-between moments, the “raw” stuff, the details.

 

Do you remember the first time you ever held a camera? I don’t remember the exact moment I held a camera for the first time, but I do recall receiving my FIRST camera. It was a point-and-shoot Lumix that I received from my parents as a Christmas gift when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I wanted something I could carry with me all the time to document all of the details. I remember feeling comfort in photographing EVERYTHING because it meant I could never forget it.

 

Did you have a lightbulb moment when you knew photography was what you wanted to do?: Videography? There was never a lightbulb moment-I just knew that I was passionate about telling stories so naturally, it all kind of fell into place.

 

If you were not a videographer/photographer, what would you be?: If I weren’t a photographer/videographer, I think clothing design would be a blast! Like photography, I’d love to be able to experiment with texture, color, style, etc.

 

How was creativity a part of your childhood? Besides videography and photography, how is it currently a part of your life?: Creativity was my entire childhood. I’m the oldest of 4 and together we were forever making price tags to “play store” or using our imagination to create games. I also recall recording “radio newscasts” on cassettes via my cassette player and interviewing my siblings for hours on end. Aside from videography and photography, creativity is a part of my every day life because I am all about personalization. Nearly everything either hung up or decorating our house is something I’ve crafted and to this day, my FAVORITE gifts are those that are homemade.

 

Where do you find inspiration personally and professionally?: I think I find the most inspiration in intimate interaction. A mom snuggling her baby, a couple holding hands in-between the shots I take, a dad laughing with his daughter…as soon as I see a “raw” moment like that, my heart smiles and I’m immediately filled with inspiration.

 

If your home were on fire and you could only grab 5 photos in time to save them – what photos would they be?: Whew, thank goodness I have a way to cheat this question-I have a single photo frame with about 14 4×6 slots in it. I’ve sifted through thousands of photos over the years and the ones that are most near and dear to my heart were made into black and white and put into the frame. The photos include my parents on their honeymoon, photos of my grandparents and great grandparents, there’s even a photo of one of my dad’s old dogs wearing headphones. The photos tell the story of my life and there are still a few empty spots left for my wedding and children’s photos. After my dog, this frame would be the first thing I’d grab if my house were on fire.

 

In what ways do you think you contribute to something bigger than yourself?: This is such a serious question-I’d like to think that the memories I’m capturing for my clients are bigger than myself-they are memories that my clients (brides, babies, families) will carry with them for their rest of their lives. Not everyone gets to have a career that relies so heavily on preserving such special moments and I’m always humbled when my clients hire little old me to tell their larger than life story.

 

Do you see your involvement in videography/photography to be a catalyst for change?: I’m aware that my photos and videos aren’t saving lives or changing the world in any way, but I’d like to believe that perhaps I’m making a small change by using my photojournalistic style to tell their stories. Maybe i’m showing them a side of life they haven’t seen yet.

 

What do you hope to see during your travels in Nicaragua? I think the people in Nicaragua know what it’s like to get the most out of each and every day, despite their meager means. I am so lucky to live the life that I do, but I often take it for granted. I hope my travel to Nicaragua can remind me how simple happiness is because, after all, smiles are always free, they’re always contagious, and they’re the same in every language.

What do you hope to show to camera sponsors and the public from Project 2? I hope to show the camera sponsors and the public from Project 2 exactly what I saw as a sponsor during Project 1. I watched people bring life to their stories-I got to see what was important to them through their eyes, and I watched them smile over the simplicity of a single photo. Photos are proof of life and we take them for granted in the United States every day. Imagine your life with no photos…as soon as I did I knew I had to give the people of Nicaragua the opportunity to preserve their proof of life. The sheer happiness I saw on their faces when given this opportunity is exactly what I want to show the sponsors and public from Project 2.

Why is video a more powerful story telling tool than photography? Vice versa. In your opinion – which has the most power to evoke emotion? evoke change?  In terms of quantity, video is a more powerful story telling tool than photography because you can tell MORE of a story with one video than you can with one photo. In terms of quality, a photo is a more powerful story telling tool than videography because the “right” photo can immediately move you to tears, fill you with rage, or inspire you to look at another. That in mind, I think a photo has the most power to evoke emotion because emotions happen so quickly. A video, on the other hand, is better to evoke change because it has the ability to show more content at one time. Making decisions, unlike feeling emotion, isn’t always instantaneous so videos are best to evoke change. 

What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?: If I’ve made so much as one difference in one person’s life, then I’ve left the best legacy I could hope to. If after I’m gone people still share my advice and treasure my photos, that’s all I could ask for.

 

You will have been on both sides of the coin after this trip, so in your own words please describe what someone who sponsors a camera should expect. Why should they do it? Sponsoring a camera was a no-brainer for me, but if you are on the fence, think about your life with no photos. None. No baby photos, no wedding photos, no photos of your late loved ones…none. Empty, isn’t it? As a camera sponsor, you are putting a camera in the hands of someone who has no photos..no proof of life. They may not have even had dinner last night, let alone had dinner, taken a photo of it, and shared it on social media. As a sponsor, you should expect, first and foremost, a fabulous t-shirt (woohoo!) and from there, you should expect to feel constant joy and a sense of belonging. The great thing about the Big Picture Project is that you’re not just donating money and walking away-you’re watching your donation change people’s lives before, during, and after the Project. Though you may not be traveling to Nicaragua with us, you are receiving daily updates and you’re feeling the fulfillment of your donation day after day. I remember tears of joy filling my eyes when I saw the first photo my photographer took during Project 1-I was so proud that I was part of giving her that opportunity-and my fiancé, a “manly man” of sorts, was even touched by the daily progress we watched her make. After Project 1 was over, we couldn’t wait until the Big Picture Project Gallery, which is something you can likely expect by sponsoring a camera for Project 2. We got to see through the eyes of not only OUR sponsored camera, but the others as well. We were quick to purchase a couple of prints for our house and we cried more tears of joy when we watched the video Karin and Roger showed-WE helped put smiles on their faces, WE gave them the opportunity to preserve their proof of life, and WE gave our sponsored pals the skills to acquire jobs. Real photography jobs that allowed them to put food on their tables and clothes on their backs. WE did all of that and YOU can too. If nothing else, sponsor a camera for the t-shirt and updates while we’re away-once you do, you’ll find that there’s a lot more to the Big Picture Project than that. Be a part of the capture.share.change movement!

 

Whew!  How awesome was that!?!  We love Kelsi’s perspective and know you will too!!  Leave her some love in the comments, or decide to come along with her virtually to see this project through her eyes!!

You can find Kelsi’s potography work at https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyByKelsi

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Announcing Project 2 – It’s time

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So it’s time. Time to go to a new location and change more lives. We have a new set of individuals whose struggles include lack of food, water, and shelter, but who equally need to be given an opportunity to express their individuality and creativity. Currently, their life is purely about means of survival. But without self realization and an outlet of expression, that is all their lives will ever be – simply surviving – not living.
Let’s give them an opportunity to tell their story, their struggles, to express their creativity in their own words. Capture stories of the world around them in a way an outsider could not. Give them an opportunity to share their voice in a world where they currently do not have one.
It’s time. Time to dig a little deeper. Time to go into a world that has it’s own set of deep dark struggles unique only to them. It’s time to experience something a bit more raw. A bit more in your face. It’s time to experience something that – when you witness it for the first time – you can’t deny it. You can’t turn your back on it. It’s time to witness the helplessness, darkness, dispair, and still see that small sliver of light that shines through that is known as hope.
It’s time to share with your families and children that life isn’t so pretty for everyone. That while you toil over wether to make salmon or chicken for dinner, someone sends their kids off to sift through garbage to find dinner. That’s right. For some, garbage = a meal. Consuming waste in a first world country is difficult enough to imagine, but imagine what is in the waste of a third world country. Imagine the pollution. The contamination. The foulness. And imagine calling that your home.
It’s time to go to this cruel, merciless place filled with hundreds that have been forgotten – a place know as “La Chureca” in Spanish. Translated meaning “The Dump”.
Outside of Managua Nicaragua stands a community of people who live and survive off the waste brought to their city dump. They live in the cardboard and plastic bags salvaged to make a home. They eat what they are able to recover from other people’s trash. Alongside cattle, horses, rodents, and excremement from all of the above – these people find food. Children sometimes as young as 3 years old, barefoot and starving head out daily to provide for their family. They learn quickly that life isn’t a matter of amusement, its point blank a matter of finding a way to survive.
What these people call home – we would call hell. And yet – upon meeting these individuals you will find smiles. You will find families and community. You will find a hug like you’ve never recieved and a thankfulness for nothing more than your presence. You find people who make you forget their hardships and see that their struggles – while massive – don’t define their character. This is where we will find 4 people who will help change their community. They will help change your perspective on life. By opening up their world, they will bravely tell a story that is long since been disregarded by civilization.
With your help, the outcome of this project will be a feeding station for this community to be able to receive a hot meal – every day. A meal for children who live deep in the darkness of a world without the basic human needs. A meal for a mother who goes without so she can give something more for her children. A meal for a father who endures 100 degree heat, polluted smoke from the trash that is burned, who fights his way through the waste to provide. A meal that will change their entire world. We cannot do this without you. They cannot have this opportunity to educate the non-sufferers of their unawareness of their fellow human struggles without you standing up to say “I care”.   It’s time. Time to stand up. Time to stop turning a blind eye on something simply because it’s hard to look at.
Exactly 6 months from the day – 2/13/15 – we will spend a week with 4 individuals who call “the dump” their home. Will you open your hearts to 4 strangers? Will you show them your love and conviction? Will you see the beauty beyond the dispair? Will you give them an opportunity to change their community? Because it’s time.
For those who opened their hearts to Project 1, you will get to see some old, familiar faces that you grew to love. The greatest part of a new found gift is the ability to share it with others, right? The best way to learn, sometimes is to teach. So in a process of coming full circle – you’ll get the opportunity to see your 4 friends Marvin, Orlando, Ana, and Rosanna teach what they learned to 4 new individuals in need! 2 of our days of the project will be in Mateare where the old students become the instructors. Does it get any better than that? You won’t want to miss this experience! The full experience of “Capture, Share, Change” coming to life!
We also have another instructor who will be joining our team this project, as well as a talented videographer who will be capturing the project to share with you. We will announce more about this on the days to come.
Many great things are happening, and we hope you’ll come along and be apart of it again. Because it is certain to be spectacular!

The next step? Check out this video. Share it. Spread the news of this new journey and encourage others to get involved. If you feel so inclined, sign up to sponsor a camera! We can’t wait to have you along for this experience!!

Special thanks to Justin Cardoza from Flourish Films flourishfilms.com/ for providing us with the video footage you see in this video. His genorosity to help not only our project, but also to help individuals in need across the globe is apparent in everything he does. Justin’s talents are as abundant as his passion to make a difference.
Special thanks also to Danya Artimisi for donating her time and talents to narrate. Her beautiful voice can be found on St.Louis radio station Y-98FM We could not have been more fortunate to have her voice to chronicle the story and can’t imagine this video without it!
All of the powerful images in the video were provided by Roger Doolin with TenSixteen Photography

We have so much exciting news that goes along with this trip, so stay tuned for updates and information each week!!!  We are so excited for another adventure to Capture – Share – Change!!!!

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