As part of my editorial & photography work with the Japanese Cultural Magazine Bento Box, I had the fortune of being asked to photograph the launch event for Uniqlo Canada. My experience living and working in Japan has made me a Uniqlo addict, so, of course, I was thrilled to hear the chain of clothing stores would be coming to Canada. When Bento Box said they were looking for someone for this particular event, I jumped on the opportunity, even going so far as to show up in head-to-toe Uniqlothes.
I've been a volunteer photographer with Emily's House, a children's hospice here in Toronto, for exactly a year now. My first event for them was last year's Hike for Hospice, and in the 365 days since I've supported them with event photography for some fun events. However, I've also helped the families they serve document the final days of some very beautiful children.
It's a challenging situation. The photos are some of the most beautiful I think I've ever produced, with the pure emotional weight of their importance making them shine in my eyes. Yet, those photos are probably the most personal photos I ever take, so I'm unable to share them. It's volunteer work, and I can attest that it is at once the most rewarding and most heartbreaking work I ever take on.
The weight of the work is illustrated in an interaction I had with one of the Emily's House nurses, who, after I'd been snapping photos of one girl and her family for an hour, asked me if I think I'd gotten enough photos. I was completely at a loss to respond. How many photos of a dying baby is enough? Shouldn't I grind my shutter down to sand, snapping picture after picture after picture in the vain hope that the next one will be the one to perfectly preserve the life that was lost?
Anyway. Hike for Hospice is definitely one the most openly joyful events I help out with. Even on a very rainy day in May, the life and energy of all the other volunteers, as well as the strength and the light of the families in attendance, was more than enough to obliterate the grey.
I was once again hired as an official photographer for the Toronto Estonian Documentary Film Festival. They wanted me back because they claimed I had a lot more fun with folks in front of the step and repeat than other photographers. And here I was thinking it was the Estonians who made it so much fun...
As part of my volunteer photography work, I am the official photographer for Toronto children's hospice, Emily's House. I was introduced to the hospice when some close friends started volunteering with the children there, and it's always a pleasure to support their charity events.
In September, Emily's House received a huge donation from WWE Wrestling stars Stardust and Stephen Amell / The Arrow. The donation was in honour of Ollie Oddsocks, a child who lived at the hospice and made an impact on Amell. Both wrestlers were absolute class acts as they helped Emily's House unveil a new room in memory of Ollie Oddsocks.