Homeless, cats, rhinos: those whose life is affected by photography

Photo contest to beat male deceases, selfies against cancer, saving Kenyan rhinos and other examples of how photography propels charity

Touching dramatic photo scenes often cause not only strong emotional response and compassion, but also determination to help people pictured in the photographs. And not just people. Bird In Flight reviewed ten nonprofits driven by photography.
Project 30/30

Period of time: 22 April – 21 May 2014.
Goal: construction of a medical center in Republic of Malawi (Africa).
Fundraising method: via crowdfunding network Indiegogo.
Result: $152 178.

Family of American musician Ryan Lewis who raises funds for building hospitals all over the world launched website – where everyone who donates $5-$10 can post their selfie. Those who donate more significant amount receive greeting cards with images by photographer Jason Koenig. If you donate $1000 towards the charity you’ll get one of the five large print framed photographs by Jason Koenig.

The idea of the project goes back to 1984, when Ryan’s mom gave birth to his older sister. Due to a complicated delivery, she needed a blood transfusion and had HIV+ blood put into her body. When she was finally diagnosed, she was given only a few years to live. Ryan and his sister each had high risk of being born HIV+, but were fortunate to avoid it and their mother lived for another 30 years. To honor the thirty years Ryan’s mom has been a survivor, the family is raising funds to build health centers worldwide that will stand strong for at least thirty years. The first $100,000 will go towards construction of the hospital in Neno, Malawi.


"I Can"

Period of time: from 7 May 2014.
Goal: to help disabled people.
Fundraising method: via crowdfunding site JustGiving.
Result: more than 20,000 disabled people received individual donation.

In early May British disability charity Papworth Trust launched the “I can” campaign. Its goal is to promote the idea that disabled people, as long as they want to, can have professional lives and a career. The organizers photographed famous personas, like Steven Hawking, Paralympic athletes and celebrities with various disabilities who, despite their physical limitations, lead active lifestyle. Their portraits became a part of the promotional campaign prompting others to deliver financial aid to the disabled on JustGiving website.


Selfies Against Cancer

Period of time: Period of time: 18-19 May 2014.
Goal: raising funds for cancer research.
Fundraising method: through website and via SMS.
Result: more than 1,000,000 GBP.

The campaign began on May, the 18th, when the organizers asked women to upload their bare faced selfies through social networks with hashtag #nomakeupselfie to support fight with cancer. The trend went viral: everybody was posting pictures with the hashtag in social media and many proceeded to enter the UK charity site and their Facebook page, or made a donation sending a txt message to their number. Celebrities pitched in as well – including actress Kym Marsh (pictured here) and singer Vivi Brown.

In just 24 hours Cancer Research UK received around 800 000 donations and their FB page was subscribed to by more than 200 000 followers.


A place to live for a homeless colleague

Period of time: from November 2013.
Goal: to raise funds for former photographer Scott Sutton who lost his house.
Fundraising method: through crowdfunding network GiveForward.
Result: $14, 201.

Only $800 left to be raised to reach the goal of $15,000 – the sum that will provide Sutton with his own place to live. It began in November of 2013 when Benjamin Lowy, a photographer, met Scott Sutton, a man panhandling, outside the Union Square movie theater in New York. Scott was holding a sign that read “Give selflessly and you will reap endlessly,” and Benjamin walked over. They started talking and Scott surprisingly admitted he used to be a photojournalist and a phototechnician for Archive Photos. Affected by their conversation, Benjamin posted an image of Scott along with his story on Facebook, not expecting a mass response. The shot gained popularity and a few months later Scott’s sister, who previously had no knowledge of her brother’s misfortune, set up a fundraising campaign to help the former photojournalist get back on his feet.


Animal shelter

Period of time: 7 March – 30 June 2014.
Goal: to find homes for homeless pets, finance animal shelters.
Fundraising method: selling photographs on website
Result: adoption of 5 dogs.

Last March Sarolta Ban, an artist and photographer from Budapest, came up with the idea of a project to help homeless animals. It involved posting a photo of a stray available for adoption on Sarolta’s Facebook page. Ban would work on the photo to turn it into an artistic photo collage. An expressive picture, according to her plan, draws much more attention and therefore increases chancing of finding a caregiver for the animal. Those who adopt pets in need receive the artist’s work as a gift.


A house for Godfather

Period of time: May 2010 – May 2011
Goal: to help homeless of Los Angeles
Fundraising method: attracting donations
Result: 39 individuals have been provided homes, more than $800,000 collected to cover their basic needs and medical care

Charity PATH with help of photographers and journalists of Los Angeles Times gathered local community representatives and on large screen demonstrated pictures on life of the homeless. The event helped raise $45,000 in donations. Later it started to attract financing from private businesses and charity funds. The man on the photo – John Watkins by nickname Godfather. After his house was destroyed by the earthquake in 1994 Watkins built a shack out of what he could find on one of the Hollywood hills. Soon enough other homeless began to settle around it. Watkins earned their respect and that’s why, when in April 2010 PATH volunteers decided to do a survey among the homeless, they were taken to see Godfather.

Partly thanks to Watkins’s effervescent personality, the results of the social research drew public attention and kickstarted the charity campaign. The raised funds provided John and 38 other elderly homeless with decent homes, medical care and basic needs.


Beards against prostate cancer

Period of time: every November, from 1999
Goal: Goal: raiding funds to fight prostate cancer and other illnesses
Fundraising method: encouraging donations on the website, finding sponsors for the campaign
Result: just in 2008 alone they raised $15 mil. 770 projects worldwide financed

Movember – a global movement that originated in Australia. Its members grow facial hair throughout the month of November and, when asked about it, discuss male cancer causes and prevention. The Movember event creates awareness around men’s health issues and raises funds for carefully selected beneficiary partners in each country that are also charitable organisations, with a focus on prostate cancer. Photography plays important role in their campaigns. They launch photo contests for the best mustache in social media, advertising events with celebrity photographers participation, charity photosessions.


Photography to fight muscular dystrophy

Period of time: January 2010
Goal: raising funds for those affected by muscular dystrophy.
Fundraising method: one-time and recurrent donations through website, SMS and fundraiser events.
Result: no information.

In 1977 for the charity company that launched Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, photographer Lord Snowdon took picture of Anthony Dillow – a boy with muscular dystrophy. The add featuring Dillow in a wheelchair and the campaign proved to be so successful that it was recreated 14 years in a row. 33 years later, it inspired a new version, this time executed by a different photographer, Tony Muranka, with the participation of six-year-old old Bradley Addison. The new add was launched in 2010 with the new photo, yet accompanied by the old slogan: “He’d like to walk away from this poster too”.


Saving Rhinos

Period of time: from 15 May 2014.
Goal: raising funds for the environmental protection organization Ol Pejeta.
Fundraising method: through crowdfunding network JustGiving plus 10% from the sales of photomagazine World Of Animals.
Result: 8 130 sterling pounds ($13, 780) + the percentage from the magazine sales.

World of Animals, owned by Imagine Publishing, in partnership with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, pledged to raise funds that will go towards the fight against rhino poachers in Kenya. Black rhinos are on the verge of extinction. These endangered creatures are being unmercifully hunted, gunned down by automatic weaponry and having their horns harvested by poachers – their bodies left to rot in the sun. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a nonprofit wildlife conservancy, the largest black rhino sanctuary in Kenya and the natural tourism canter, has been raising funds to secure the habitat that will provide safety for healthy growing rhino population.


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