play! september 11, twenty 11.

Doing something you love is always a great thing.

Doing something you love and finding out that it will be used to help raise money for those in need….well, that is just damn priceless.

Every since I started doing photography, I’ve always looked for ways I could use my “talent” to give back and help out others. I’ve done the simple thing and donated prints or offered free photos shoots for people; but I wanted to do more. I’ve heard about Help Portrait for a number of years; when I lived in Lubbock there was an attempt to get a group started but it never really took off. Being in school and working full-time made it hard to travel to a city that was hosting an event.

However, now that I only freelance I can afford to travel. This year I plan to take part in a Help Portrait event; I am also in the process (well, I just started the process) of trying to get one setup here in South Texas.

But this post isn’t about my involvement with Help Portrait. Although, you should check it out and help out if you can.

This post is about Toys for Tots.

A few months ago, my friend Simon Ponder told me he just submitted some photos to Composing with Images Press for a chance to be published in one of their upcoming books. The catch…the images had to be shot with toy/plastic cameras. Toy/plastic cameras are basically low-fi analog cameras. They are made entirely of plastic, including the lens. They use film, none of this digital mumbo jumbo. If you still don’t get it, google “toy camera” and learn something.

If you know me, or have followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know I love shooting with these plastic/toy cameras. I have several photo series that I’ve shot only using these plastic cameras; hell, I’ve even shot a couple of surgeries with plastic cameras.

Another “catch” was the theme: Play. Again, if you’ve followed my blog you’ve probably noticed – at some point – that I also love shooting at playgrounds…especially with these plastic/toy cameras. Although the submission deadline is closed, you can read more about the theme and requirements here.

That all being said, Simon – knowing that I have a ton of images shot with these types of cameras – said I should submit some photos. Generally, I don’t like to submit to these types of things. When he first sent me the link I originally thought it was some type of contest, and if you were selected they would publish you in an upcoming book.

A few days after Simon first told me, I again read over the information. This line really hit me:

“All proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to benefit children in the areas ravaged by tornadoes in 2011.”

Every year I donate toys to Toys for Tots – a fact most people who know me might find shocking, but it’s true. My family did it when I was younger and I’ve continued. So I thought this would be a great chance to use my photography to give back to an organization I was already very familiar with.

After pulling together a few images, I made my submission.

A few days ago I received an email from Composing with Images Press stating they have chosen one of my images to be published in their upcoming book, which tentatively will be entitled “Play!”…I really hope they stick with this because it fits the theme, the type of cameras, and the organization the book will be benefitting. Simon also had a photo chosen.

Another great bit they shared: The submission fees alone brought in over $1200.00, all of which will be donated to Toys for Tots.

I couldn’t be happier. I am able to use my photography work to help other in need. Even if Composing with Images Press gives me a free copy, I plan on buying several more to help out a great cause.

Here is the photo they chose:

Shot with a Lomo Fisheye II using Fuji Velvia slide film.

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  1. I am glad to see you participated. I can not wait to see the final book.

  2. Sounds like a really good project. Love the photo!

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