From Bright Lights to Clean Drinking Water

By Marianne J. Dupre

 

How does a high-fashion photo of a sassy senior quench the thirst of a child in a remote Cambodian village? Through the extraordinary talents of Compassionate Eye Foundation’s volunteer creative community that rallies for a good cause.

In February 2015, a group of stylish women, ages 60 through 85, was the muse for CEF’s Advanced Style shoot in Toronto. “We set out to produce a fashion series, not a fashion series for ‘older’ women,” explained fashion photographer and CEF volunteer John van der Schilden. “We wanted our shoot to be about their spirit and personal style. In our minds, we created distinct characters who didn’t allow conventional thinking about aging to dictate their outlook on fashion.”  

Model Penelope Goranson reveled in her moment under the bright lights. “It was like I’d died and gone to heaven,” said the self-professed “sassy” one of the group. “All those clothes, jewelry, scarves – my cup of tea!” Her images from the shoot have now appeared in Zoomer, People, InStyle, Money, and Travel and Leisure magazines.

 

 

Vicki Schelstraete, another CEF photographer working on the shoot, agreed. “They were all so excited to be a part of a shoot where they were celebrated for their age,” she said. “For our 85-year ‘young’ model in particular, it was her first-time modeling, exemplifying that you’re never too old to try something new. Her spirit, energy and sense of fun were incredibly contagious, and John captured it all.”

 

On the other side of John’s camera is an equally energetic verve in Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert, the founders of KIDS International, an organization that benefits from stock photo royalties generated from shoots like the Advanced Style series. A partner for five years, KIDS International is among a number of CEF charitable partners who devote their resources to helping developing nations thrive.

Every year, Adrianne and Rick travel to Cambodia for a four-month stay. “We’ve always gone to Cambodia,” said Adrianne. “It captured our hearts – so many people had lost children and families due to civil war.”

The KIDS partnership with CEF has enabled Adrianne and Rick to accomplish a growing list of projects that includes building and repairing floating schools and health clinics, sponsoring children to go to school, and establishing clean drinking water systems.  

On the first drinking water system they built, Adrianne noted how lethargic they had originally found the children to be. “We designed a clean drinking water system and worked with local builders to make it happen,” she explained.” Today, 5,500 children and families have access to clean drinking water, and the difference in their well-being is noticeable. “It’s amazing. The children are more energetic, and happy. It’s wonderful seeing them come up to the tap and drink as much water as they can and not be sick.”

Adrianne and Rick are always eager to talk about their travels, projects and successes. ““We tell stories, and people want to be a part of it,” said Rick. “What we really like about CEF is that we’re partners. They allocate funds and we apply them to a particular project.” In describing their work, he added, “We write what we see. We incorporate hope, heart, and making a difference with a line of humour – that’s our formula.”

The formula works. Penelope Goranson was excited to learn more about photos royalties supporting KIDS International. “If my picture is helping in any way, I am absolutely thrilled. If you get a chance, send them all a hug and all my love.”

 

Loving the View

By Dan Rogers

I am no photographer. Let me be clear about that. I’m not even particularly interested in photography except as a record of events and people. Which surprises some folks given my involvement in an organization that relies heavily on the talents of professional photographers who, along with many others, dedicate their time to produce excellent images to generate our primary revenue source.   

But I love watching the process of a photographic production unfold like an intricate dance that is planned by the producer, the creative director and the photographer, and then executed by the photographer and his subjects incorporating whatever location and landscape is chosen. It evolves in slow motion but captures images that existed for but a moment but are documented for the rest of time.   

I try to make at least one of the CEF shoots per year to watch, and thank people, and help if I can. And this year on a wonderful couple of days in late June I went to Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC to “help” with the shoot produced by Amy Jones, shot by Steven Errico, and executed by a talented crew and cast.  Not a bad gig…2 sunny days in Tofino with two good friends and a great cast and crew.  

I see my role on these shoots to be a gopher. Whatever needs to be done. So I picked up lunch, I ran errands, I carried equipment, I shopped for groceries and props. Whatever I could do to be useful so the talented image creators could concentrate on what they were doing. It’s so different from my usual life I love it all: Amy’s focus on detail; her partner Gavin’s cheerful help seeming to anticipate what comes next all the time; the wardrobe and makeup artist’ patience as they wait for direction for what’s next and then next after that; the talent’s acceptance that Steven will decide what’s next and where and how.  He is the director and the recorder…always thinking and planning. His focus is amazing. I’ve seen it on a shoot, and also when we travelled together in Cambodia. He is a professional through and through, and CEF is lucky to have had him shoot for us more than any other photographer to date. The Tofino production marked his 11th CEF shoot.   

It was a great couple of days in Cathedral Grove and on Chesterman Beach and environs. I’m certain there will be many great “active lifestyle” images, (think surfing and beach running/walking, picnic, hiking, bonfire, etc. ) produced that will generate revenue for CEF and our wonderful projects around the world.  I get to experience a world I’ve come to know only through CEF and hang out with some really fun, talented people. Thanks all.   

Photo by Amy Jones

Tofino: Behind The Scenes

By Aaraksh Siwakoti

 

A lot goes into one of CEF’s photoshoots. From models to photographers, to assistants and coordinators, to the location and time — there is a story behind each photo. Recently one of our talented photographers, Steven Errico, long-time producer Amy Jones, and their amazing crew were in the ever-beautiful Tofino, B.C. beaches and trails for some exciting new photos to be added to our collection. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at what went on during the shoot!

 

Surf’s up for Steven Errico:

Photo by Gavin Kennedy

Getting a rocky perspective:

Photo by Dan Rogers

Do chase waterfalls:

Photo By Gavin Kennedy

Making their way to the waves:

Photo By Amy Jones

A sunset setting:

Photo by Amy Jones

Behind-the-scene-ception:

Photo by Amy Jones

The Amazing Crew:

Photo by Steven Errico

Foster positive change by doing what you do every day

 

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-41Ten years ago Compassionate Eye Foundation was founded on the belief that by doing what you love and using your creative talent, you can have a positive impact on the world.

What started with one photo shoot in June 2006 by CEF’s founder Robert Kent, 11 of his colleagues, and a partnership with Getty Images, has grown to multiple photo shoots around the world each year. Many of these shoots involve a diverse array of photographers, as well as an entire team of talented individuals for each event. The resulting revenues from these shoots has resulted in changing the lives of people and communities for the better.
What struck Kent as an opportunity to connect what he loved to do with helping make a positive difference, has resonated with scores of people and continues to inspire. The first shoot helped to begin building a classroom in Tuixoquel, Guatemala, and began an investment in a community that continues to improve their lives and possibilities.

Since 2006, through CEF, individuals have contributed their creative talent, time, and energy to help fund health, education, and sustainable economic projects across the globe. CEF has funded projects in ten different countries over the past ten years – all made possible through the volunteers and photographers who use their creative skills to give back through CEF.cef-school-behind-the-scenes-19

“Compassionate Eye is about connecting creative professionals who do what they love with making a difference in the world,” says Kent. “It really draws people in.”

Robert Kent has also inspired professionals in other fields to volunteer their time and talents on CEF’s Board and committees. More people have come together to bring their expertise whether it is managing resources, researching and funding projects, working with the many charitable organizations involved around the world to ensure projects are funded appropriately, or getting the word out about CEF’s work and opening the door for others to be involved.

Contributing to the brain trust running the CEF are the people who arrange the creative direction, produce the shoots, and handle the post-production of the images. Creative Director Kate Stevens and Submissions Coordinator Philippa Cooper provide the professional expertise to producers and photographers so they can do their best creative work.

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-16For the tenth anniversary of CEF in June 2016, Kent returned to Vancouver to do a shoot with long-time CEF photographer, Steven Errico and producer Amy Jones.

“When I showed up for the shoot, I was blown away by all the expertise there,” says Kent. “I was able to drop in and just start doing my work. It was an incredible experience.”

The education-themed shoot generated a whopping 265 images between the two photographers! These images will be posted on Getty Images and with each purchase, will raise funds for CEF.

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-52
For Kent, CEF was the turning point where he began focusing on putting his talent to use to make a positive difference – and connecting with others with the same passion. Since then, he has gone on to start several other projects, including collaborating on a documentary film, Aloha From Lavaland, from which a percentage of its proceeds will go to CEF, and his latest endeavor: a six-day festival in Cambodia, featuring an array of creative talent, all focused on enacting creativity to create real world positive change.

CEF’s unique model enables creative professionals to use their skills to give back, while generating continuous revenue. Kent is excited to see what the next ten years holds for CEF, and believes the model has the ability to reach beyond stock photography and attract creative professionals from other industries.

“Anyone can do it – just jump in and do what you love!”

Partnering for Change

 

As we celebrate ten years of creative impact, Compassionate Eye Foundation would like to recognize one of our key partners – Getty Images.

Over the past decade, Getty Images has not only been a champion of Compassionate Eye Foundation and instrumental in providing a platform to promote our images, they have also contributed their own generous donation. In ten years we have raised almost  $1 million in royalties from images sales, and Getty Images has more than matched that.

Thanks to Getty’s support, and the contribution of photographers and volunteers around the world, we have been able to make a positive difference in ten developing countries – supporting health, education and sustainable development. From a floating clinic in Cambodia, to a peer literacy program in Sierra Leone, to a school in Zambia – we are changing lives together!

Recently we celebrated our 10-year anniversary with an event in Vancouver and were delighted to receive a video message from Getty Images’ CEO, Dawn Airey. As Compassionate Eye Foundation’s community spans the globe and many of you couldn’t be there, we wanted to share this message here.

Thank you Getty Images for your continued support and partnership, and thank you to our creative community – together we are truly making a difference!

 

Thank you for 10 amazing years!

 

Compassionate Eye Foundation rallies creative professionals worldwide to use their skills to generate revenue for projects that empower developing nations to thrive.  Whether you contribute your skills, make a donation, volunteer or purchase one of our images – you are helping change the lives of people worldwide!

This year we are celebrating 10 years of creative impact. Through image sales, we have raised close to $2 million to help improve access to education, health services and tools for economic sustainability in developing nations. Thank you to all the creative professionals, crews, volunteers, partners and donors who have joined us to help make a positive difference!

Help spread the word and share our story!

 

Thank you to the following for their support in the creation of our 10 year anniversary video:
Steven Smith – editor
Kate Stevens and Philippa Cooper – creative direction
Michael Ghent – script writing and direction
Tish Iceton – narration
Kids International Development Society – Cambodian video footage.

 

 

Celebrating 10 Years of Creative Impact!

It was a family reunion of sorts for the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) last week as past and present volunteers, board members, photographers, and project partners gathered in Vancouver to celebrate a decade of creative impact.

CEF 10th Anniversary-60

Back in the city where ten years ago he held CEF’s first photo shoot, CEF’s founder, Robert Kent, gave a heartfelt reflection on the past decade and growth of the organization. This was followed by a moving song by guitarist, Jonah Ocean.

CEF 10th Anniversary-24

Steven Errico, who has shot for CEF each year, shared photographs and memories from his trip to Cambodia to see some CEF projects firsthand. Our project partners in Cambodia, Rick and Adrianne from Kids International Development Society, also gave an update on their projects and shared a framed Certificate of Thanks from the community where  the latest school build we helped fund was recently completed.

CEF 10th Anniversary-sErricoCEF 10th Anniversary-RA

Board Chair, Dan Rogers, acknowledged CEF’s global community of volunteers, partners, photographers, and other contributors who were missed at the event. CEF would not be where it is today without this incredible network of dedicated and talented individuals – including our stellar production team in the UK – Kate Stevens and Philippa Cooper, and former creative director, Fiona Watson.

As an example, this has been a busy couple of weeks for CEF. On June 14, Christopher Robbins was shooting in New York City. June 18 was a big day with four photographers in two cities – starting in London with photographers Kelvin Murray and Oli Kellett and later that day with Robert Kent and Steven Errico on an education themed shoot in Vancouver with producer Amy Jones (see photos below). On June 24, there will be a photo shoot in Toronto with Kara Dillon and Vicki Schelstraete.

CEF School Behind the Scenes-8CEF School Behind the Scenes-24

CEF School BTS-1

So far our tenth year has been a big one, and there’s more to come! Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date. We will also be sharing memories throughout the year and hope you will too. Post your CEF memories on social media and tag them with #CEF10x10. Thank you for helping us have a wonderful first decade of making a positive difference around the world!

Many thanks to Gavin Kennedy for these great shots from the 10 year anniversary party and behind the scenes Vancouver photo shoot. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see more!

What Goes on at a CEF Photoshoot?


Jaishree Narsih

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a CEF photoshoot? CEF collaborates with many different photographers and there is a lot of work that goes into producing a single photo shoot to yield the stock photos which are then posted on Getty Images. Kate Stevens, Creative Director at CEF, is here to give us a little bit of insight and take us behind the scenes of her role. She has been with CEF for five years doing editing and occasional art directing in the last seven months, has taken on the role of Creative Director.

Kate Stevens

Photoshoot days are hectic and there is a lot that needs to be done! The day starts with a quick run through with hair, makeup, and styling to outline expectations and setup for the day. While the models are getting ready, Kate runs through the shot list and expectations with the photographer and walks through the location to determine the best start setup. A lot of this planning is done well in advance of the photoshoot day; however, being flexible is very important. Many factors including lighting and weather can require switching up the shots to get the best results.

Here is an excerpt from Kate outlining some of the behind the scenes specifics:

“Once the photographer and team have the lighting set up I’d get the model/s on set and run through specific shot requirements. I would by this point have discussed with the photographer how they wish to direct the set…often too many directives and voices are confusing for the models. Some photographers find it easier to give direction than others. Ideally it is a collaborative process…you see the shot on the laptop (if they are shooting tethered) and you can immediately pick up on what needs adjusting or changing. Throughout the day your job is to make sure the shots are achieved and to keep the photographer moving on through the set-ups. You constantly keep an eye on the clock and need to be thinking one, two, three sets ahead to get styling and sets prepped to avoid long delays. I would usually get a copy of the day’s shoot on hard drive before leaving.”

This is only some of what goes on during a photoshoot – a large shoot requires a lot of planning and the better the planning, the stronger the shoot.

I asked Kate what she enjoys most about her role. She said that she enjoys it all “from putting together an overall production plan and budget, engaging photographers in projects, to putting briefs together, helping out on the shoots and the nuts and bolts of production…finding the right location, models and assembling a shoot crew! Seeing the results in editing is very rewarding.”

Kate’s biggest challenge is working with the fluidity. As mentioned in the above overview, planning and organizing a photoshoot requires many different aspects to come together and you always have to be flexible and adjust to any changes that may be required.

As CEF approaches its 10-year anniversary, we have a few interesting photoshoot prospects coming up! This includes a contemporary look at the workplace and business owner shoots featuring the actual owners and an environmental shoot which is in the early stages of planning. There are going to be shoots in Vancouver as well as Toronto, Montreal, and London with hopes to bring Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle into the mix as well. There are also preliminary talks to bring in and work with some new photographers – more on that as things get finalized! Steven Errico (Photographer), Amy Jones (Producer), Hero Images (photography team) and Julie Francoeur in Canada are fantastic shooters who contribute every year and make a huge difference to projects supported by CEF.

Photo of the Week: Family and Grandparents

Robyn Goldsmith, Social Media Coordinator

We are getting excited about our next shoot on May 30th! We are incredibly lucky to have Natasha Alipour-Faridani on board as our photographer. The theme of the shoot will be family and grandparents, and Natasha is sure to capture some gorgeous images.

This week’s Photo of the Week is one from a previous Compassionate Eye Foundation shoot by Natasha. Her ability to capture familial love is striking. For more of Natasha’s past CEF work, check out our collection of her photos on Getty Images.

The CEF Advanced Style Photoshoot: Absolute Verve and Pulchritude!

Lory Keller, Social Media Coordinator

On February 22 a group of like-minded people gathered at S1 Studios, Suite 201B, in Toronto, Canada for Compassionate Eye Foundation’s 2015 Advanced Style inspired photoshoot. The commercial images of our 60+ aged models, created and captured by photographer John van der Schilden, are the epitome of Advanced Style; a celebration of beauty, age, and modish, polychromatic fashion.

John, with behind-the-scenes photographer Kara Leo, and the production team spent the day with the fab five stylish and sophisticated women who view wrinkles, not as imperfections, but as the beauty marks of a rich and robust life. Incredible ladies for whom age is but a state of mind. John’s and Kara’s fine art images capture the vibrant individual essence of each of our resplendent volunteers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with our fab five models to ask them about their day in the studio. I asked Penelope Goranson, Andrea Bolley, Octavia Haggis, Louise Kerr, and Win Kuplowsky about the photoshoot, their volunteer experiences, and more. Thrilled to be volunteering for CEF, the day got better as they suited up in wardrobe. Cosmopolitan designer outfits, oh my! Next, they were off for a dash of color in makeup and then on to strut their stuff in front of the camera!Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.24.19 PM

With an Advanced Style outlook that reveals a lifetime of learning and a desire to give back, these models do just that. They share their flair for fashion through artistic ensembles that catch and delight the eye. They give of their time through volunteering with CEF and other non-profit organizations. Model Win Kuplowsky shared with us her love of helping others through the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund and the Ukrainian Art Song Project a Canadian organization formed to promote Ukrainian classical music.

Win contributed not only her volunteer experiences, but took time to share a terrific description of all-things-wardrobe: “Sarah’s selection of eclectic jewelry, shoes, funky boots, hats of every colour, texture and style adorned the work tables, clothes racks brimmed with fashion statements, the best of the best and she, like a magician at ready to create magic for the camera.  Hair and makeup… found us in up-dos, smokey eyes, lashes and tinted pouts. Transformation underway as an array of costumes, gloves, bangles, boots, berets and bags were mixed and matched in artistry. It was as if through this artistic collaboration of creativity a character of sort were born. What a wonderful day it was!”

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.30.37 PM

In response to my request to pick three words to best describe the day, Louise Kerr chose these: “Liberating: having had the opportunity to present a refreshed view of the older woman (and there are plenty of stereotypes to wrestle with). Let’s see more of these incredible 60+ women! Validating: This project embraces older women with all their ‘creases’ (a testament of their substance and resilience). Also the fact that this group of artists believed in the project and was willing to put their time and resources in to producing it: the celebration of aged beauty and experience. Celebration: of the strength and experiences that are etched on each one of our faces and bodies. Everyone is physically ‘perfect’ in their own way when they’re 18, but the honoured portrayal of age with all it’s ‘flaws’ is a testament to a discerning and civilized society.” Penelope Goranson shared, “The shoot itself was magic. What a marvelous adventure!”  Volunteering is large part of who they are. Giving back is a pleasure, and as you can see, they do it with pizzazz!

CEF is immensely grateful for the generous donation of studio time from S1 Studio Director Craig Samuel, and for all our volunteers like the fabulous five, that bring such vivacity to share with our organization. Volunteering for CEF is always a unique and wonderful experience. Each CEF photoshoot is its own creative environment, full of effervescent energy and everyone bubbling over with a contagious enthusiasm. Beautiful photos aren’t the only thing created at a CEF photoshoot, just ask the fabulous five. I’m certain they’ll all tell you beautiful memories are created there, too.

Want to see more from the Advanced Style inspired shoot? Check out the amazing behind-the-scenes images on Facebook.