Last year, my Mother – after years of unemployment and declaring bankruptcy AND losing her home – moved into a dilapidated trailer which needed thousands of dollars worth of repairs to restore it to a livable condition because my Mom, as trusting as she is, agreed to purchase the trailer WITHOUT doing a walk-through, because the condition of sale was NO WALK-THROUGH. Um, RED FLAG, Mom!! She called me up and casually says, “So I bought the trailer – couldn’t do a walk-through, though.” I knew things were going to be bad. Like really bad. But I didn’t anticipate no running water, no heating and no electricity in half the place. This is not the life I wished my Mom to have. She worked hard and she did not deserve to live in a place where the windows wouldn’t even shut all the way. These are photos of her actual living space.
One day, I want to move my Mom into some swanky little condo that doesn’t have fat cracks in the walls. For now, my Mom is making due in her place, like thousands of other people in this town who are facing unemployment and undesirable living conditions – or maybe even no living conditions at all. It’s windy days like today that remind me how awful it must be for people without even a roof over their head.
Back to the story – luckily, after my Mom acquired her trailer, my ex’s AMAZING family helped with everything from plumbing to heating to painting to wiring (and who knows what else – everything you can imagine being wrong with a home was wrong with this home). They were so generous and kind and they helped my Mom in so many ways. She also later received new energy efficient windows, a new heater and carbon monoxide detectors through the Community Services Agency weatherization program, who also properly vented her dryer so she wouldn’t suffocate in her own home.
The people and organizations that helped my mom restore her home also restored her faith.
Seeing all the support and kindness coming from people she barely knew gave her HOPE. It put the light back in her eyes after it had been taken away through years of hardship and the added blow of having her home taken away. And although it is hard to see my Mom living in a cramped trailer on the outskirts of town – I find comfort in the tales of the friends she’s made, the people who have helped her, and the people she helps in return. The first week, her neighbor gave her curtains because they saw she had none. And the next, someone brought her boxes of tea. And just recently someone gave her a WOOD STOVE and installed it – for FREE. And these are people who don’t have extra money laying around. I find it so inspirational.
There are people all over this area that have been handed a hard lot in life, who are still loving, generous, thankful and kind.
That is why I am doing an annual portrait extravaganza for less fortunate families in Reno & Sparks. Photography is something I can give to people, so that is exactly what I want to do for families who could otherwise not afford to have professional portraits taken. So, every year, in April, I will spend a day taking photos for these families. I guess I’ll call it Hard Luck & Love – unless you can think of something better – totally open to suggestions. The name feels very Reno, at least.
Details: All portraits will be taken at Rancho San Rafael park in Reno, NV on Saturday, April 9th, 2011. Families can (and should) sign up in advance, but I will gladly welcome walk-ins – but there may be a wait. I will be taking portraits of the family together, just the parent(s) and just the children during a 15 minute session. After the photos are edited, each family will receive digital copies of their photos on a disc complete with copyright releases so they may print their photos as they wish AND one 8×10 print of the family together. You do not have to have children to participate! I will consider “families” of any type – even if your kids are of the canine variety. My only requirement is that the family is deserving of free portraits. There will only be 20 spots available. But don’t worry – I’ve promised myself that if I fill all 20 spots – I will do another event a few weeks later in May. If there is open space between appointments, I will gladly go over 15 minutes. It would so blow my mind if 20 families participated in this!!
E-mail or call me to reserve your spot, or to sign up a deserving family that you know. I will be scheduling 15-minute blocks from 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm.
At the end of the day, I’ll give away a 1-hour portrait session with a drawing from all the participating families – AND – I’ll also give away a 1-hour session to one lucky person who SIGNED UP A FAMILY! I’d also like to do another drawing and give away some cash to one of these families – but I need donations for it to happen! If you would like to donate, send payments through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org – or call me!
I’m also really hoping someone will want to donate time, skills and products as well. Like make up artists willing to touch up makeup or help people look fabulous on the spot – that would be RAD. Or if a printing vendor would like to give away extra copies of the photos for these families. Just some thoughts – guess I need to make some phone calls! I’m playing it by ear right now.
And..GO! EMAIL ME to reserve a spot! Or call me: 775.335.9807