November 27, 2011

Children's Miracle Network





























































































































I apologize in advance as this is literally the longest blogpost EVER.

Back in Oct, I went to Orlando and DC to follow 50 "Champions" of the Children's Miracle Network. These 50 kids from all 50 states have either overcome, are living and coping with some kind of major illness or injury. For a whole week, these kids, their parents/siblings/grandparents were able to forget their daily struggles, even if for a week, and celebrate the children, the caretakers, and the sponsors who made the week literally, and utterly amazing. There were award ceremonies for the kids, the doctors, the generous donors, and for anyone and everyone involved. They were taken to Disneyworld countless times over 4 days. Got to participate in the parade as Grand Marshall, meet all the characters and just have a good time. And yeah, we got serenaded by David Archuletta a couple times. Got to meet Steve Young, the dude from Dukes of Hazaard, Mary Lou Retton, Merideth Vieira, Mark Wills, and Miss America. From Orlando, we boarded a Delta plane, specifically for the CMN. No security, we just drove up to the tarmac on buses and got on the plane. In DC, they went to various monuments, the White House (no Obama sadly), and got to participate in the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The week was by far one of the most amazing experiences I've had as a father and photographer getting to know these kids and families. To learn of their lives, conditions, triumphs over diseases, and learning to have hope no matter what. NO.MATTER.WHAT.

You can get to know these "champions" a lot better on their site HERE.

I can not thank Aubrey (pictured last being hugged by the champions) & Miranda Children's Miracle Network enough for asking me out to come and do this. They played a larger role with their association with Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City when our Weston was there for his heart condition. I jumped at the opportunity to give back. When they contacted me, they told me previous photographers were commercial shooters who lacked "warmth" and hoped I could bring that to their images. I tried my best.

Also a HUGE thank you to Kodak for generously providing the film to document this event. It was all shot on Kodak Portra 400, Portra 160 and Portra 800. The BW was Illford Delta 3200. And for the camera geeks, this was shot on Contax 645's with 80mm, 140mm, 45mm, and 120mm lenses. I brought the 35mm and the 210 but they never left the bag. I also used a Holga with a Nikon SB80.

And I can't post this without thanking my wife, Callie, who whole-heartedly supported me going and doing this shoot 10 days after our son Kalani was born. I have no regrets of going but I will say it was damn good to come home to my wife and kids. Yeah, my wife is super woman and is going straight to heaven, no questions asked.

If you are still reading this blogpost, I'd ask that you go find something you truly believe in, something that makes you want to be a better person. Go and give of your time and talents you have in anyway. There is no better feeling in this world than giving back and helping others. It is what life is really all about really...

15 comments:

Cate said...

wow, this is my favorite post of all time...and i've been following your work for several years. you did indeed bring so much warmth! thank you for sharing...you have inspired me to find ways to give back. thank you!

Altax said...

Lovely pictures and awesome photography. I think the kids and everyone out there enjoyed a lot.

Worksheets for kids

Kelli Ward said...

I'm so glad that you got to do this. I shot this event for two years before I had Alpha and I know they have had a hard time finding someone since. Your images are gorgeous and I know what you mean about it changing you. I am forever different after participating in that event.

Mandy said...

So beautiful! Brought me to tears. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mandy said...

So beautiful! This brought me to tears. Thanks for the inspiration.

Carrie said...

you sure captured a lot of JOY here, and that is pretty amazing. and then the last paragraph, teared me up. i feel the warmth, the joy and the relief from their everyday all wrapped up in one- the nicest of gifts you could give to these special children, families and caregivers.

Sarah said...

Jon, these are seriously the most beautiful photos I've ever seen you take. Pure Joy. Love. Peace in there eyes. May God Bless you for sharing the gift He gave. xoxo

MegRuth said...

Best post ever.

Kyle Stepp said...

These are so amazing! Thanks for all that you did! It means alot!!!!!!! Email me at k_stepp@live.com I would like to keep in touch!

-Kyle
New Mexico Champion

Paul Gero said...

Gorgeous Work Jonathan!!

JodyM said...

Brought tears to my eyes.

kimsueellen said...

Beautiful work friend. I feel it. It is real. It is special. Thank you for touching my heart with it. xoxo

Megan said...

I don't know you or your story, but I do appreciate your photography and the stories you tell. This was amazing. Thank you for sharing it with those you know and with those you don't. I appreciate your comment of finding something and donating your time to it. Even though it happened this summer, its a great message for this giving season. Happy holidays!

shipra said...

one of my all time favorites of all your posts, Jon. Truly beautiful and inspiring. Thank you

David Ferguson | Brisbane wedding photographer said...

Looks like a really satisfying project, thanks for sharing.