Today, I took pictures of my heart gallery kids.
For those who don’t know, the Heart Gallery is a project that involves matching photographers up with children in foster care, available for adoption. The Heart Gallery started in Santa Fe, with the idea being that local professional photographers could photograph the children and provide something more than the typical “mug shot” that goes into the adoption paperwork.
My kids were located in Hilltop Texas, which is actually about the two and a half hour drive from where I live. Luckily, their foster mom had friends in Rockdale and agreed to meet me halfway, in Rockdale, to let me take pictures of the children. (I photographed a “sibling group” which, when translated, actually means “more than one kid.”)
The Heart Gallery presents interesting challenges. For one thing, the kids don’t want to stay near each other. They love to scatter, and it can be difficult rounding them up. For another, the light was terrible today-we did the shoot at high noon and it was bright, blasted out sunshine-not the best for photographing. (Texas sun is not even the best to stand around outside in.) Finally, them being young kids, they don’t have an attention span to be able to sit there and “turn this way” or “look that way,” I’m really left trying to catch them when I can, and I can’t shoot for more than a few minutes. It’s torture for a young child to follow them around with a camera, plunking them down in the Texas mid-day sun, and expecting them to sit still and smile for more than 15 minutes or so.
Even given these factors, every year, I try to do my best. There’s a lot riding on these pictures, and I try to make them come out the best I can. I like to tell myself that, even an ok shot from a good photographer is better than their typical “mug shots” and will go a long way towards helping them out.
On the way back home, I got lost in a town called “Thrall.” (I swear I’m not making that up. Thrall, Texas.) Needless to say, I was not thrilled to be in Thrall at the time but it looked like an interesting place to visit. I’ll have to try and make it back there when the light is better.
You’ll probably be hearing more about the Heart Gallery in the coming days (weeks, months, whatever) and I have to get back to uploading Compact Flash from the stash so….
Until next time…