How is it that in giving, I felt like crap? Am I a sideshow circus freak or just damaged goods?

She said it out loud…

 

...those words that I had been feeling but had no idea how to articulate…

 

“It’s this fear of saying the wrong thing,” Ashley said.

 

We’ll get back to who “she” is and why you should be listening to her here in a minute...

 

WOAH.

 

8 words that made me realize why for a long time I haven’t been as giving, or as charitable as I’d liked…

 

Not in the “round up to charity” thing on Amazon or the “want to donate to the food bank?” thing at the grocery store…

 

No, not any of those.

 

It’s this desire to want to reach out to families in my community who have a terminal illness and photograph them like they’ve never been photographed before.

 

To GIVE that gift, wanting nothing more in return than to know that in a few years when their loved one is gone, they can relive those smiles, the piggy back rides, the laughter, the hugs.

 

What’s “fear of saying the wrong thing” got do with it?

 

A LOT.

 

I just don’t know what I’d say, I don’t know them that well, what if they don’t even respond?

 

And that fear of what to say, has translated into the fear of what they’ll think.

 

If I post an image of the session with my logo on it...won’t that feel like I’m just trying to use their tragedy as advertising?

 

What do I give them? I don’t want to just give them digital files...I want them to get print. But if I gift them prints and they want to buy MORE...I don’t want them have to SPEND money from a GIFT! But, I can’t give them canvases of EVERYTHING...

 

Let's get a few facts straight.

I HAVE gifted a few sessions like this before.

So many of the feelings above are from my experiences with those sessions.

 

How is it that in giving, I actually made myself feel more like sh*t?

 

Which in turn, has prevented me from giving much at all?

 

Am I a sideshow circus freak or just damaged goods?

I immediately called my good photographer friend Melissa to subtly ask just that. I found out that no, I’m not a crazy person who needs $1 million in therapy sessions.

 

She has had similar thoughts.

 

So what do we DO about that? How can we give one of the (if not THEE) best gift possible, the gift of photography to those who need it, without the worry, the fear, the uncertainty, the feeling like crap afterwards?

 

Ashley Nicole Jones of Love Not Lost is going to teach us how to DO IT RIGHT during Photo Bacon’s newest free online conference in January (more details to come later).

 

How to either give a % to charity, or give the gift of photo sessions to a family in need.

 

Because that’s what she DOES. PERIOD.

 

Love Not Lost “is a non-profit organization who photographs people facing a terminal diagnosis.  Through free portrait sessions and beautiful photo albums, we celebrate life & support people in grief.”

 

BOOM.


 

BUT and a huge BUT….I need your help coming up with questions for her. This is uncharted territory for me, and everything I’m trying to articulate to her turns into gobbledygook!

 

So do me a favor, reply  in the comments (or email lisa[at]photobacon.com) and answer me this:

 

When it comes to giving or wanting to give photo sessions to families in need, what is your biggest frustration, challenge, or hangup? Be as specific and detailed as possible.


 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. Learn more about Love Not Lost at this link...Ashley’s story is AMAZING.

 

She’s one of those rare people who can take her own tragedy, flip it 180 degrees, and turn it into something that betters the lives of others.

 

So check it out at this link, then be sure to reply back to me with the question above!


 

P.P.S. One of my favorite blogs Growth Labs just featured her on their first episode of "Tiny Empires." Check it out here - it's only 9 minutes, and is a truly amazing story of how she's using photography to help others with grief.