I got the email on Friday afternoon. EU Jacksonville, the magazine I shoot for most, made some last minute changes for the new edition that was going to hit the streets next week. They decided to make their story about the upcoming second annual Clean Water Music Fest the lead article and they needed art to illustrate it. And they needed it by early in the week. Did I think I could do it? Sure, I could.
I was at last year's festival. It's a great charity event. Local musicians Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher of Flagship Romance put this together to support efforts to get clean water to developing countries around the world. While we take access to clean water for granted, for millions of people around the world, it's not that easy to get the water they need. Many spend their entire days trying to get enough water to survive on. They may have to walk hours and hours, miles and miles to bring it home. And that water is dirty and disease infested. It is a major cause of death and illness in these areas, especially among children. If you'd like to know more, please visit www.charitywater.org The extent of the problem is mind boggling.
For their first event, Jordyn and Shawn with the help of friends, fans and local businesses were able to raise $12000. So what happens with that money? Well, with each $20 collected, it gives one person clean water for about 20 years. That's HUGE. Just from what they did last year, 600 people will be getting clean water. Which means that they can turn their attention to other things, like caring for their families or working to support the family or getting an education. It makes a difference. It really was a great event. And the music was damn good too.
So, getting back to this year. We all started trading ideas back and forth about what kind of images to make for this. It was a combined effort for Rachel, Will and Shelley at EU, Shawn and Jordyn, and Cindy and me. We were brainstorming by email. By late Friday night, we had several ideas for me to work on. The next morning, I started to scout for possible locations. I headed downtown, looking for fountains, water pumps and scenic places along the river. Cindy suggested some children that we might be able to put into the pix too. By early afternoon I had several places in mind. I had even talked a Jax fireman into turning on one of the red hydrants down by the river to give us some kind of rushing water. And I put it out on Facebook that I was looking for a pitcher pump or something similar that we might use in the photos with kids. I then firmed up with Shawn that we could meet on Sunday and we'd get it done, at least their part.
Then he said two things to me that changed everything. He had some dear friends whose children he thought would be perfect for this. Sure I said, please bring them along. And he asked if I'd considered shooting this at Guana Nature Preserve. The bells went off. Guana has a burnt out section that I envisioned would give us a perfect background for this. The pieces were falling into place quite nicely.
I arrived a bit early at Guana the next afternoon to scout out some locations. My vision for this shoot was trying to make it look like Shawn and Jordyn were in a developing country, not looking like they were standing somewhere near a Florida beach. And this place had it all. Right next to the section of burned vegetation was a boat ramp for launching canoes and kayaks. No concrete or anything like that. Even Mother Nature was cooperating as a storm was brewing off to the west and creating some great clouds. Even a little gear snafu wasn't going to spoil this one. When they all pulled up, and I was introduced to Mary-Anne and Steve, I knew that this was going to work out perfectly....well aside from Steve's Old Navy shirt.
We were able to get several different looks accomplished in about an hour. I shot the kids by the water and in the woods, then had Shawn and Jordyn join them. The kids were a joy to work with and they really got into it, giving me the emotions that I was asking for. It was great fun. And I was so happy with what we were getting. I don't think it looked like Florida much at all. Then I had them cup their hands while Shawn poured water into them from one of the big yellow water cans. We did get a little rain, but we were able to get done and get out of there before the storm hit.
There were more, but I think we accomplished what I set out to do. Working with Jordyn, Shawn and the kids was a blast and they'd done so well. I was excited. This was one of the best editorial shoots that I think I've done. On the way home, I texted Cindy "wait till you see". I couldn't wait to show her the results. EU was quite pleased too. Here's the cover that they chose....
And, the article....