Monthly Archives: February 2013

Since returning from the Philippines, I feel I have an awareness of little things that I didn’t previously. The sound of the rain hitting the windowpane reminded me of someone speaking about rain hitting their tin roof and how happy it made them because it was the sound that the were safe.

Today, I want to encourage everyone to take notice of something very small that brings you joy. Bask in its enjoyment then photograph it and tell me what it means to you. It doesn’t have to be a great photo, it’s the memory that’s attached to the photo that’s important.

Tag your image #the_small_things_in_life.

Look forward to seeing the images and here’s to the small things in life that are really big!

Last year I was fortunate enough to photograph Pope Benedict XVI while I was in Rome on assignment working on two different documentaries films. The thing I find most compelling about this image is the face of the priest behind Pope Benedict. The look of respect and admiration is so powerful on the priests face.

This image is in honor of ALL who serve others that are less fortunate regardless of their social stature, title or faith.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

Ansel Adams

Natures version of a Jackson Pollack painting. Steal from the greats and make it your own.

Aquaboy sits upon his thrown.

Naked forest.

I discovered the secret behind why they call Chicago The Windy City! (at Fabyan Windmill)

Billy don’t be a hero.

Had the unique experience of being the subject matter of a portrait session by @paumestudiophoto before my @igerschicago instameet today.

I must admit Omar (the photographer) was very confident, cool and easy to work with but, I am way better behind the camera!

This is my view as Omar finishes photographing me.

Thanks Omar! Good luck with your move and enjoy the adventures. Please check his feed and and see if you can spot some other igers.

I was recently adopted!

By the time I was born both my grandmothers had died. I never experienced how it must have felt to to be loved by a grandma. However, I was recently adopted by Grandma Tan Chu while I was in Manila. How cool is that?

I love seeing my son “loved on” by his grandma and grandpa but, sometimes realize I never experience the kind of love only a grandma can give. When Grandma Tan Chu said “she would adopt me” I jumped at the chance. Although I didn’t spend a great deal of time in her presence, I can tell she’s gonna be a great grandma for me!

I now also get to really celebrate Chinese New Year. Whoo!

Grandam Tan Chu stands in front of Grandpa Ignacio Chauh Pit,Dad Proceso Chua.Mom Loretta Chua

Just thought you should meet all of my new family members.

Eyes of the innocent often reflect back to us what we see in ourselves.

Sh_t! Sh_t! Sh_t!

The swear jar is full again.

40 brides and not one “bridizilla” to be found.

I have learned that when you have very little you appreciate everything to a greater degree gratitude. All of the brides in Ilian Island were so appreciative of their day and everyone that made the day possible. All of the brides were truly princess for the day.

Thank you to all that donated to the cause and Watts of Love.

Too poor to be married.

One week ago today I had the fortunate opportunity to be a part a 40 couple wedding on Ilian Island.

All of the clothes, including the wedding dresses, shoes, veils, grooms barong, belts, rings marriage license and traditional wedding feast after the ceremony was paid for by the church.

May I now introduce you to the 40newest Mr. and Mrs. on Iland Island.

Amazing event for all that attended.

Yin and Yang meet again.

Chinese New Years in the Philippines hanging above my head.

Contemplation and the smile.

Last night since I am still off on my sleeping do to jet lag from my trip, I got out of bed flicked on a light and pulled something out of the fridge to eat. The moment I had completed both actions, I suddenly thought to myself, “I just did two things no one living on Iland Island have ever done before. Flip on a switch to light a room and pull food out of a fridge.

I hope Michael Jordan and Mona Lisa my nicknamed friends are doing okay on Ilian Island.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Today is Presidents Day in the US. Thank you to the brave men that served with honor and courage.

Ilian Island boy cares for his baby sister. The sense of family commitment and love I I encountered on the island was truly inspiring.

Jeepney rider.. This little boy sits in the entrance of a Jeepney watching traffic and life shuttle pass in Manila.

Father Fernando Suarez MMMP perspective as he looks out on all the couples and family members on the wedding day ceremony.

Thanks you Father Suarez and the the brothers that helped make this such an amazing day for all that participated.

I also want to thank Father for allowing me to shoot “where I wanted” to capture this historical day. (Highlight on cross added for effect.)

“You may now kiss the bride.”

It was such a great moment of joy on Islan Island when all 39 new couples kissed for the first time on their wedding day. I think this bride and groom look so beautiful.

Thanks again for all that made this day so special and contributed to it’s success! I can’t wait to return some day.

NEVER GIVE UP. When I look at this image and the faces within the frame, I can’t help and think about my own eight year old son.

Although I have been away from him for sometime and miss him terribly, I know when I tell him the stories and show him pictures he too will want to help.

What are these boys hopes, dreams and desires? I honestly have to no idea but, I have to believe they are the same as my son. Same as I had as child and the same hopes you had as a child.

We all want to be loved, accepted, cared for, happy, told you are good at something, encouraged to succeed and to feel like you belong to something greater then yourself!

I know I could never fulfill all of those hopes and desires but, if giving these children a little joy, photo, candy, time, or a solar light encourages them just a little to NEVER GIVE UP, then I will never stop trying to do my part.

Yes, I just arrived home, however, Watts Of Love has JUST begun its mission and we have a lot to do. 1.3 billion people live every day with out light and we need your help! If you were moved by any of these stories or images please consider donating. The link to donate is in my profile above and we are already planning our next project.

If you don’t have money right now and want to help in other ways, GREAT, we want your help! Tell me how you can help? We are totally open to any, ideas, suggestions or connections you might have to assist us with our message and mission. Tell people about Watts of Love. Tell people about my feed and ask them to read the stories for themselves. I am not looking for more followers to feed my ego. I am looking for ways to spread this message and we need your help.

We need money, we need additional press, we need airline miles, we need writers, we need video editors, we need local volunteers etc. Basically, we need a lot! Mostly, we need people that are passionate, dedicated and want to make a real and substantial change.

Be creative, think hard, everyone reading this has talents, gifts and connections that can help these boys and all kinds of people like them around the world.

Thank you for your help i look forward to hearing from you and remember, NEVER GIVE UP!

This is the third recipient of a solar panel light.

As two of his six children look on, this father learns how to use his new solar light.

In the lower right hand corner you can also see the bamboo skewers being help up by the mother in my previous post. The previous recipients were so excited to teach the new recipients how they could make money at night and save additional money on kerosene.

The father cried as he told us that on the day we had arrived, no one in the family had eaten because they had no money. The patents put salt in a bowl with water and allowed the children to dip their fingers into the bowl so they could eat and taste something for the day.

This was one of the most heart breaking stories I have ever heard in my life. When I hugged him good-bye, I could feel every rib bone beneath his Quaker Oats tee-shirt.

PROOF that light changes lives!

This women is a mother of seven children and no real eduction. Durning the daytime she cares for her children, does laundry and cooks.

Her family was the second light recipients from Watts of Love. The following night after having received their new solar light, and her children sleeping she made 1000 bamboo skewers in one night and made 40 pesos equivalent of $1 US. She now also saves between 40-60 pesos per night on kerosene.

The 100 pesos per day can now double the food purchase for her family!

The amount of pride and joy this women showed us when we arrived was truly amazing! She was so proud to show us her bamboo skewers.

Later that evening she and her husband insisted on taking us to the third solar panel recipient so they could teach the other mother who only had 3rd grade education how to use solar light and how she too could make the bamboo skewers at night.

Thank you to everyone that donated.

We are making plans for our next solar light drop. Any donations will be applied to our next project coming soon. Please see the link in my profile above on how to donate.

United Baggage. Don’t we all have out own baggage? I know I do. Good luck identifying and carrying yours.

“I am too poor to be loved.”Gandmama.

I will never forget these words spoken by our first recipient of a solar panel light distributed by Watts of Love. 2/12/13.

Light change everything in these people’s lives.

I love this image SO much. When you give to others you receive so much more back in return. It is such a simple and proud universal truth and this picture completely shows this truth in action.

Look at their faces as they are seeing a bride and groom see their first printed photograph ever! WOW, it give me goose bumps and puts tears in my eyes.

John and Nancy Economou Co-Founders Watts of Love and Zineth Chua partner, assistant extraordinaire, interpreter, Milan tour guide, and most importantly new family friend.

Zineth actually was also a huge help in forcing me to alway be drinking water! It was so hot on the day of the wedding and I was sweating so much. (Sorry it the truth). I can tell Zineth is a great mom and wife. She truly cares for everyone she comes in contact. Thank you Ken and Zenith for all your support and help. It was an honor to meet you both.

Too poor to get married.

Brother Ronnie has one of the 37 couples sign the state marriage license on Ilian Island.

Some of the couples had been waiting up to five years to get married because they were unable to afford the 400 pesos ($60 US dollars) to afford the state license.

Note the proud smile of the girls dad behind her. Priceless!

I just touched down in Chicago and man is it cold.

X marks the spot. Yeah, I only wish it marked the spot. If my travel day isn’t long enough I just experience a two hour delay on the runway in Guam! Finally in Hawaii had to get off go through customs again and run to catch my next flight home to snowing freezing Chicago. Ugh!

Like Dorothy “I wish I were home. I wish I were home. I wish I were home!”