cool folks Tag

I think Alastair Humphreys is my new hero.

Actually, I’m pretty sure he is. Having cycled around the world (including a stint in a canoe) and written excitingly about it, Humphreys is a proper adventurer who is all about embracing life while we have it. Also, he decided he wanted to take photos to document this, so he bought a camera and started taking a photo a day; awesome!

Photo by Alastair Humphreys

You can probably see a trend here in my inspiration series, that I greatly admire people who follow their passions no matter what they are or how crazy they seem. Seriously, what would you tell me if I said I was going to drop everything and cycle around the world? How awesome would it be if I didn’t care and went and had the time of my life anyway?

I guess my equivalent of river jumping was when I quite firmly decided the following four things:
1) I wanted to make the world prettier through unique visual communication
2) I wanted to make design and photography accessible
3) I wanted to live a lifestyle where I could afford to travel and experience new places
3) I wanted to find a way to make a living off of it

Hence, in 2009, LiveLaugh was officially born. It was my river.

Passion wins, every time.

Today’s inspiration comes in the form of spoken word poet, Sarah Kay. I was originally introduced to Sarah Kay a year or so ago (when a friend sent me a link to ‘Hands’), and recently rediscovered her work and was blown away all over again.

While she’s not a visual artist, so to speak, I am hugely inspired by her passion and perspective on life.

“I use spoken word to help my students rediscover wonder. To fight their instincts to be cool and unphased and instead actively pursue being engaged with what is going on around them, so that they can reinterpret and create something from it.”

The above video is from TED2011, in which she talks about how she got started in spoken word poetry and how she evolved into who she is today because of pursuing that love. It’s well worth a watch (or two), as her passion is super inspiring and it’s a lovely story of how she embarked on an adventure to do what she loved and share it with others. We can all learn something from that!

“If I can make you think, or if I can make you feel, my job’s done. That’s my passion.”

Cale Glendening is a freelance photographer and film maker, and definitely an inspiration!

The above music video, created for musician Van Risseghem, is an excellent example of this. Even though the budget was incredibly limited, the final project is a beautiful visual narrative of the song. As he writes on his blog, “We have to stop making excuses and get out there and CREATE!” I suppose it goes to show that a good idea will trump uncertain circumstances any day.

He also relatively recently travelled to Indonesia to photograph and film the Mentawai Tribe – he found a story he wanted to tell, and so he went and told it; awesome! Perhaps it’s his passion that make his work so remarkable?

I know, I know – there are a million and one posts about the ‘best portfolio sites’ or ‘slickest website designs for artists’ – but I come to you with my contribution on the topic: Not merely a list of Excellent Portfolio Sites (based on content or design), but also Associated Lessons You Can Learn From Them! Are you excited now?


1. Jesh de Rox –

(I know it’s flash but give it a chance!) This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful portfolio sites I’ve seen in a while, that I think quite exceptionally tells the story of Rox’s work (which is very much based on experiental photography and loving life).

Lesson: Design for your client – know who they are and what will appeal to them. Rox’s site is beautiful and exceptional because it does this (but it probably wouldn’t be as effective if he specialized in sports photography).

2. Erik Ryan Anderson –

Definite props for the simplicity here, I think, but also the variety of work and how it’s portrayed (the order of the scrolling images tell a story of their own). He’s also got a blog that’s worth checking out.

Lesson: Include personal work! What you spend your own time working on is a good reflection of what you’re passionate about. If people see this work, you’ll be more likely to get hired to what you love!


3. John Keatley –

I think one of my favourite things about this site is that the photos speak for themselves, but for each photo there is also a link to ‘Read more on the blog’. It’s not forcing people to read, but gives them the option to feel more involved and respond. It seems actually rather friendly.

Lesson: Keep it simple but show your visual style. Think about how the design and can best complement your images – sometimes it’s okay not to use words, let the work speak for itself!

That’s all for now, folks – stay tuned for (a possible) part II in the near future!

We met up bright and early on the 4th to get things setup and start off for the much anticipated Help-Portrait Belfast event. The amount of people who ended up coming to volunteer – from photographers to hair and makeup artists to people serving tea and coffee and everything in between – was seriously mind blowing. I love how a group of like-minded people can come together to do something so spectacular – to give back in the simplest of ways. To tell stories by listening to stories. To use our skills to bless others.

I had planned to take photos throughout the day and have them all compiled for a nice visual narrative of the day. But it didn’t really work like that. After each photo I took and had printed for someone, I reformatted my memory card. The photos only exist in the printed form – which says volumes in itself I suppose, because it’s not really about the photos. It’s about the conversations that happened because of the photos. It’s kind of a difficult concept to explain if you haven’t experienced it; it really is a shift in thinking about photography.

I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I believe we ended up with around 7 photographers, 13 volunteers, 2 hair dressers, and 1 makeup artist. I think the final count of photos taken was around 136 (probably around 60 unique people/families). Everything about the event was pushed up a notch from last year – lots of fresh baked goods, tea, and coffee, Christmas carol sing-a-long for the kiddos, hair and makeup beauty stations for the ladies, photos, and of course, lovely conversation for all.

Even bigger, on the same day, thousands of other people around the world were doing the same thing. Global collaboration in all its selflessness and beauty. I am so excited to have been a part of it, and to meet other amazing folks who gave their time and energy and awesome talent. Check out the Flickr pool for behind the scenes photos from other Help-Portrait events around the globe.

Also, check out Russel Pritchard’s Blog for a lovely, better documented recap of the day. And I definitely recommend joining us if you’d like to be involved next year!

Without further adieu, I will break the rules of blog posting and end with a smiley. Because really, I can’t think of a better way to say it than:

Help-Portrait is :)

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