Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Operation Love: All of Dustin's girls

Around a couple years or so ago, I really wanted to "do something". I wanted to help other people, using the skills that I have. I can't go out and clean the shorelines in an oil spill, or go in after a hurricane. I just can't be away that long, but I wanted to help people, in some way. I looked at the skills that I have already, and considered many different volunteer photography opportunities.

I seriously considered an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep". It's a hard job. When a couple loses a child during or shortly after childbirth, a photographer is called in to take some photos of the child (and parents and/or siblings) as these may be the only photos the family may ever have of their lost child.

Yeah, I decided that I can't handle that. It's a noble act, and I bow down to each of those photographers. I just don't think I could handle it.

Then, last year I heard about another group and realize that this was probably my perfect fit. It's called "Operation Love". OpLove is a group of volunteer photographers, that shoot families that either have a parent/spouse deploying, they are deployed, or they are coming home for a reunion.

From the OpLove website:
"If you have ever been through a military deployment, there are no words to explain how hard it is to send the father or mother of your children off to some foreign, dangerous land, leaving you all behind…. Alone. It’s indescribable to watch their faces light up as their mother or father comes up the stairs of the airport after months, possibly a year or more, of not hugging each other. Emotions fly through the main lobby, it’s so very good to have them home. Your base’s Family Support Squadron will help you with your deployment. But the last thing on your mind when your wife or husband arrives home after a 4 to 18 month tour, is capturing all this love– on film. Most people are so overwhelmed with emotions they forget to simply point and shoot the camera they are grasping of their child’s first hug, or that single tear of relief from a mother being able to hold her twenty year old son again. With the help of Operation: Love ReUnited and local photographers near your base, you can.

The Operation helps those long months go by a little faster. It’s designed to capture moments that you will never remember. It’s art. It’s love. And it’s all made possible by artists wanting to give something back to those who make the United States what it is, and ask for nothing in return- but to come home. "


I was so in!
I signed up, filled out my paperwork, got listed, and waited excitedly.... and heard nothing for quite a while. It slipped to the back of my mind as wedding season picked up and I had plenty of other editing and shooting to do.

Then one day, out of the blue, I got an email.

It literally said "Operation Love" and for a moment I thought "wha?" and then OH YEAH!

It was from a wife of a deployed soldier named Katy. Katy's husband is in Iraq (his third deployment). She was kind of poking around the internet, and just happened to find OpLove, not expecting to find a photographer in her area, she popped in her zipcode, and lo and behold, she found ME.

We corresponded back and forth for a while, trying to work out a schedule. There was rain, and more rain, and then they left to see dad for almost a whole month as he was on R&R, then a cold, but finally we worked it out.

I was very excited about the shoot, moreso than usual. I had all kinds of fun ideas planned out in my head, and was really looking forward to a little bit of playing around with different props and just following two little girls around.

Normally I spend an hour with someone on a similar shoot, and I found myself at her house almost three hours! My husband even sent me a text asking if I was ok I was there so long.

I took about 9 million photos. (well, maybe not QUITE 9, more like 3.4 million) and excitedly downloaded them. So MANY awesome pics, but here's one of my favorites that just kept popping out at me:



Operation Love


It tells a whole story on it's own... Dad's gone, mom's on her own taking care of two mischieveous little girls. Everyone waiting and excited for daddy to be home soon.

He WILL be home soon, last word was, around July - they don't know for sure.

I'll share more photos with you soon, but I have a couple other shoots I have to get sorted out first and then I'll share. If I can narrow the 3.4 million down to my favorite 50 or 60.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

What a sweet idea. I have never heard of this.

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