This has been a difficult year for many people. I personally have been pinching pennies, and admittedly, things have been pretty slow at Keatley Photo as well. But looking for a bright side to all that is going on, the downturn has offered me a chance to slow down, and think about things in a new way. Not that I want it to be this slow for too long… Of the photo shoots I have had in the last few months, several of them have shared a theme of social justice and thinking outside of oneself. For so long, our country has told us to take as much as we can, and live it up, ignoring many of the problems that exist right outside our comfortable homes. Working with, and thinking about some of these themes and issues has made a big impact on me, and is slowly changing my heart.
Photographing Lisa Ling, was one of the experiences that has made a mark on me. She is someone who is making a difference in the world, and because of her national platform, she is able to reach a wide audience and inform many people about issues that we can no longer ignore. Animal rights and cruelty is a hot topic these days. I am hopeful that because of people like Lisa, and the tools that many of us have on the Internet, we can make a difference and take steps to make changes to the way that animals are treated, both domestically and industrially. Not everyone is able to adopt an animal, or even donate to a cause for animal rights. But we can all at least be informed, and speak out against issues such as this.
The State of Washington has recently had several raids on puppy mills, which really opened my eyes to the cruel treatment of dogs. Lisa Ling also made a short documentary about the cruel business of puppy mills which was aired on Oprah (watch here).
Animal cruelty is obviously one of many issues that need to be addressed, but I hope that as a country, we might start to be more open and aware of the needs around us. Lisa spoke to a group of students before I photographed her, and it was exciting to hear some of the students talking to each other as they were leaving the event. Many of them seemed moved and challenged by her talk, and I hope that many of them will strive to make positive changes in their communities, and in the world.
Below are links to several videos and articles about puppy mills if you want to find out more.
Main Line Animal Rescue
Seattle PI video report about a puppy mill raid earlier this year (here).
PETA undercover video about puppy mills (here).
Seattle Times articles about puppy mill raids this year (here) and (here).