Today marked a milestone in my photography career. It was a photo shoot that had little to do with me or even the Teen Identity models I worked with… it was all about a mission and message aimed toward helping end child sex trafficking in the United States, particularly in Atlanta. I don’t know that any other shoot has been as rewarding or fulfilling as the one I did today.
I know this topic is hard to think about, much less talk about and get involved in. I understand the feelings and fears that rise within mothers and fathers, grandparents and siblings. It feels dangerous to get involved, to speak up, to break the silence. But it is not as dangerous as the daily life of just one of the girls trapped in a life of untold abuse. I’m so proud of the Teen Identity girls who came out and spent their afternoon learning about this topic and standing in to be the voice of these faceless girls.
Last month I mentioned my goal of raising money for Street Grace, a coalition of non denominational churches fighting sex trafficking in Atlanta. I was thrilled that we met our goal and were able to donate $100 to this great cause.
I’m also helping plan a citywide event that 12Stone Church is hosting on June 4. When I first heard about the event and their call for creatives to present the topic in a way that would help engage and educate the public, I immediately thought of creating a series of black and white images of teen girls holding powerful messages about who they are, how they feel, and what they want. The idea of holding messages or signs was inspired by Jeremy Cowart’s photo series, Voices of Haiti.
Today, we made the photo shoot happen with 12 girls from our Teen Identity team. The images I’m creating are for the victims room… a place to help people connect to the struggle and story of young girls caught in this insidious and tragic failure of society.
The image above is a portion of one of the images. I’ll post others throughout the weeks leading up to the event next month. If you’re in the metro Atlanta area, please consider stopping by to support this event and get involved to help end this insidious crime against our daughters.
Image Specs: Shot with Canon 5D, 85 mm lens, 1/100, f/3.5. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to add contrast and sharpness to give it an edgier, grainy look and feel.
Technical Knowledge and Images: review of notes from Creative Live and images by Jeremy Cowart.