Friday, December 16, 2011

It's off to the printer!

All the pictures of been taken, the stories have been written, sponsorship monies collected, and proofing has been completed. And electronically, we've gone to the printer.

Vision Graphics of Loveland, Colorado now has the electronic files of Until They Have Faces. We're hoping to receive a press proof before Vision Graphics closes for the Christmas holiday. What a great opportunity for celebration that will be!

We have received pre-production requests for 62 copies of the book (over 12% of our intended print run.). Primarily, these requests have come from writers, friends and others involved with the project. If you would like us to reserve a copy of this book for you so that you won't worry about it being sold out before you can get yours,  please just send us a note as outlined in our last post.

Some people asked that we produce/provide some sort of nice certificate that they can give others for Christmas as a promise to provide a book once it's printed and released. I'm planning on creating such a certificate this weekend. If that's something you would like just send us an e-mail and we'll send you a copy of the PDF certificate.

Had a meeting yesterday with some of the key folks involved in the project. The meeting's purpose was to get planning underway for a launch event to release the book with appropriate style.

It looks as though we will likely have two launch events:

  • one for homeless community and,
  • one for the philanthropic community.

We believe that by holding two events like this, we will be able to honor those who were subjects in the book or friends of subjects in a respectful and non-threatening environment. The gala event for the broader Boulder community can then have some of the trappings of a more traditional community fundraiser and can further bring needed resources into the homeless services environment. Our hope is to include a broad range of homeless services providers at this event.

There is still much planning to do and significant volunteer resources are needed to make this the success that we envision. If you would like to be involved in giving this book an appropriate launch in the Boulder community please let us know.

Don't forget, on December 21 at 10 AM at the Boulder Bandshell Park there will be a memorial to those homeless people who passed away this year. The memorial is held on the longest night of the year in reflection of the challenges to stay warm during the cold winter season. Hoping to see you there.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cover and Pre-Registration

Sue Campbell, our book designer extraordinaire, has completed a mock-up of the cover. Doesn't it look outstanding!

Plus, Sue has finished the first round of the design and has provided the comps to Elle and me to review.  We are reading through them right now.  There are some donor logos that need to be provided with a higher resolution, and some copyright matters to be resolved.  But, for the most part, we are VERY close to being ready to go to the printer.

We are beginning the process of gathering pre-publication book reservations.  While this process probably will not influence the quantity of books we will print -- expecting to print 500 -- this will assure that those who sign up early are assured to get a book if sales exceed expectations.  So, if you would like to reserve a copy, this form has been created to tell the details.  Just send me an email ( with your contact info (name, email address, phone number) and we will notify you when the books are ready for sale.  The price will be $35.00 each.  We are expecting the books to be ready in February.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Great News! Sponsorships

We reached the place where seeking sponsorships has come to an end.  And, we exceeded our expectations!  Due to the generosity of people and organizations in the Boulder area that share our passion for helping others, we are able to get this project to publication without financial concerns.

A big THANKS to our major sponsors, all of whom will be recognized in the book:

  • Boulder Valley Rotary Club - A vibrant group that shares lunch each Tuesday with engaging speakers and a true camaraderie.  Hunger and homelessness in our community are top focus areas.
  • CI International - A training and professional development firm that offers consulting, workshops, and coaching solutions to fuel exceptional performance throughout organizations.
  • Community Foundation - Established in 1991 to encourage philanthropy and create opportunities to improve the quality of life in Boulder County, it has granted more than $43 million to non-profit groups since then.
  • DMPage Images - A Niwot studio specializing in portrait, wedding and fine art photography.  We captured all the photographs in the book.
  • International Baccalaureate Programme of Niwot High School - A rigorous course of study designed to meet the academic needs of highly motivated secondary students and to promote international mindedness.
  • Rotary Club of Niwot - A dynamic group of professionals devoted to serving both the local and international communities.  The club meets weekly to support projects that promote the common good, and has fun doing it.
  • Urban Mattress - A locally owned and family operated business that seeks to provide the best service, prices and products available while supporting the community at large.

As a result of these fine major sponsors, all the expenses of the design and production of the book will be paid.  Therefore, all the money from sales of the books can go to the work of Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO) and the Bridge House (formerly the Carriage House Community Table) without the need to pay extra expenses.  This is a great milestone to reach!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back from the Editor

Sue Deans just returned the manuscript to Elle with some excellent changes!  Of course, that's what we expected from such an outstanding and respected professional.

Now, the focus moves to book design.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finished the Author Photos!

On Saturday, Elle and I hosted the remaining authors at our studio for photographs.  We had six authors join us and completed that photography segment of the project.  Below, you'll see the image for Mandy Walker.  The great thing about this - Mandy being one of the last authors to be photographed - is that Mandy wrote the story of Dan, the first of our homeless subjects to be photographed and interviewed.

We had a bit of bad news over the past few days, as well.  One of the formerly homeless people photographed in late winter and who's story was written, told us that she does not want to be included in the book.  That's a big disappointment because the story was so compelling -- a young woman kicked out of her home in her early teen years, living on the street, then completing high school, college and graduate school against the odds, and now having an honorable and respected career in the Boulder community.  She simply decided that she did not want her story told.  Such a story could have been an encouragement for many who are currently in a bad situation, and an eye-opener for others in terms of possibly adjusting their perspective of the homeless.  It would have been such a perfect story for the book.

Tonight I am honored to address a meeting of faith community representatives of Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO).  BOHO will be one of the two organizations to receive the proceeds from sales of the books.  At the meeting I will be explaining the project, our progress, and what attendees can do to support the project.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Off to the Editor

Today, the 44,000 words that comprise the 48 stories, author biographies, back story, etc. have gone to the editor.  That's a tremendous milestone for a project that was started late last autumn!

Thanks to all the volunteers and believers that have worked so hard to get us to this place!

If all goes well, we expect a celebration party to welcome the arrival of the published books in February.  If you are reading this and following the progress, you are invited!

Between now and then we still have to:

  • Start and finish editing.
  • Take the cover photo.  (I have a great idea for this!)
  • Capture some additional photos of authors that will be listed with their bios.  That will be on the morning of October 1, the same day as the Niwot Rotary Club's Oktoberfest in downtown Niwot.
  • Select the book designer.  (The Niwot Rotary Club's project committee will do this within the next month.)
  • Design the book.
  • Finalize the marketing plan and create some promotional materials.
  • Select the printer.
  • Send the book to the printer and do proof approvals.
  • Visit the organizations that we expect will buy/sell the books
  • Receive the books.
  • Warehouse the books.
  • Have the launch party.  
Then, we'll need to:
  • Distribute/sell the books.
  • Present the proceeds to BOHO and the Carriage House Community Table.

Through all of this there are roles for new volunteers.  If you would like to participate and make a difference for the homeless community in Boulder, please let us know.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some GREAT News!

We just received some great news!  Sue Deans has offered to edit the book.

Sue, a member of the Rotary Club of Boulder, is currently a Visiting Professor of Journalism at Knox College.  She has held a long and impressive series of positions in journalism, particularly in Colorado.  Prior to teaching at Knox, Sue was Editor of the Daily Camera.  Before that she was Assistant Managing Editor of the Rocky Mountain News.  And before that, Sue was Editor and Vice President of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  She started her career as a Reporter at the Daily Camera.

This project now has stories developed by a large and diverse group of writers -- from those that always wanted a chance to write, to some who are bestselling authors.  While that's a blessing and just what we hoped for with this project, it's also a challenge for an editor.  Sue is obviously up to the task.

We don't want to take away from the diversity of author styles and the wide diversity in the stories told by our homeless and intersection subjects.  Sue will allow that individualism to come through while providing the editing that such an experienced professional can offer.

Today, at the Boulder Rotary meeting, Sue explained that she is very excited to be part of this wonderful project.  We are thrilled to have her on board!

Elle has done an outstanding of recruiting writers, assigning stories to them, receiving early drafts, providing initial editing, and doing the needed follow-up!  We are so thankful for what she's done so far.  Her focus for this next phase will transition to working with Sue and being the principal point of contact for the book designer.  Yes, we're close to determining who we will use for that.  But, we need to get our Niwot Rotary committee of Scott, Eli and me together to make the final decision.  That should happen within the next couple of weeks when Scott returns from travel.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nearly Finished with Subject Portraits

Yesterday, I met with Frank on the Pearl Street mall.  Frank has a long-lasting relationship with Tomas deMers, one of our writers.  So, Tom and Frank had earlier worked on his story and it was now time for me to catch-up with the requirement to get the photograph.  That's a different order than most of the other photographs and stories for this project.  For the others, the photo was first captured.  Then the story was written.

This is Frank's portrait.  Readers will really like Frank's story of resilience and recovery.  Tom did a terrific job!

On Wednesday afternoon, I am scheduled to photograph Ian Engle.  Ian is the Executive Director of the Center for People with Disabilities.  Tina Downey interviewed Ian and recently completed his story.  (Ian and I met a few weeks ago during a 15-mile Rotary bike ride.  He impressed me so much, in part because although I usually climbed hills faster than Ian, he crushed me on the downhill.  Ian's bike is much different than mine.  He uses a bike that you crank by hand since his legs are paralyzed.)

When Ian's portrait is completed, the total number of subjects for which we will have portraits comes to 50.  As it stands today, we have 48 stories completed for those subjects.  There are two portraits for one of the stories.  Thus, one story is outstanding but there are very special circumstances surrounding it.  We expect it within the week.

We have five photographs for which we will not have stories.  For various reasons, the time between the portrait and the beginning of the story resulted in our inability to get the interview -- the subject moved, we lost contact, whatever.  These images may or may not be included in the book.

We have completed 21writer portraits.  We anticipate getting the remainder of those writer portraits on one of two final writer days:

  • The afternoon of September 18
  • The morning of October 1

Keep posted.  More to come....

Monday, August 15, 2011

The High Plains Drifter

In late-February, Curtine Metcalf was with us during a photo expedition to the Band Shell.  (See the February 27 post.)  There, she met Hope and Baby and subsequently wrote their story.  Today, Curtine and I caught up with each other again.  This time, she introduced me to Don, the High Plains Drifter.

Curtine wrote the Drifter's story over a month ago.  However, Don had traveled to Missouri to visit with his brother and we had not been able to meet so that I could take his photograph.  That changed today.

Don was back in Boulder, and was at his usual spot on a bench near the southeast corner of the Post Office building at 15th and Walnut.  I introduced myself to Don - said that I expected Curtine to join us.  With the exchange of a couple of my questions and his answers, it was like the Drifter and I were old friends.  The conversation came easily and we spoke of his travels, his time in the Air Force, his family, how he gets by on the street, his avoidance of tobacco and alcohol, and what he does with the money he gets from "flying" a sign (requesting money via a cardboard sign).

The sunlight was too harsh for me and the photograph I wanted to capture.  Plus, given this morning's temps in the high 70's, I didn't want the four coats over Don's shirt to overheat him.  So, we moved into the shade of the building just across 15th Street from the Post Office.  Curtine joined us there.

He told me that today was the ten-year anniversary of his coming to Boulder.

The Drifter helped me with some of my equipment set-up and tear-down.  He is a kind and careful man.  I am richer, having met and shared time this morning with Don.

This is the photograph I captured of Don, the High Plains Drifter.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Faith Community

Churches and synagogues have long been associated with aid to the homeless.  From preparation and serving of meals; to collection, storage and distribution of clothing; the faith community has led and supported programs to assist the homeless.  Many describe this as helping "the least of these."

In Boulder last winter, five Christian churches and one Jewish synagogue participated in BOHO - Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow.  Those communities open their doors to the homeless on cold or wet winter nights.  That way, those that either are unable or are unwilling to stay indoors at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless can be off the street.

During the 2010 - 2011 winter season the following organizations provided overnight BOHO shelter:

  • Cornerstone Church
  • St. Aidan's Episcopal Church
  • Boulder Mennonite Church
  • St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
  • Congregation Har HaShem
  • Crestview Church

Learn more about BOHO at

I recently had the privilege of photographing and speaking with Rabbi Deborah Bronstein of Congregation Har HaShem.  Lisa Trank-Greene will interview Rabbi Bronstein and will write her story.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Writers' Day #2

On Saturday morning, Elle and I held the second Writers' Day.  We hosted eight of the project's writers for portraits at the studio.

Saturday's weather was excellent so, rather than using our indoor studio and exclusively artificial lights, we used the outdoor setting outside the studio and limited artificial lighting to photograph each of our writers.

I continue to be amazed and delighted at the writing background and accomplishments of our wonderful volunteer writers!  As an example, Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW has written seven books on divorce and saving marriages.  She has made appearances on such shows as Oprah, 48 Hours, 20/20, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, CNN and Bill O'Reilly.  Her work has been featured in major newspapers such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and magazines such as Time, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Essence, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Woman's Day, Men's Health, New Woman, and McCalls.

Michele wrote about Cassie Gedbaw, the CU student that is so heavily involved with activities in support of the homeless.

Here is Michele's portrait from this Saturday's session.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Rainy Day for Photographs

On Thursday, July 14, I went to the Carriage House with Mary Beth Lagerborg, a new writer for the project.  We met Joy at about 10:45 am and almost immediately had people wanting to tell their stories of homelessness, resilience, recovery and redemption.  It was outstanding to have so many that wanted to participate.

Our parade was rained upon, though.  Quite literally, the skies opened with great deluge and, although I can photograph in most situations, asking people to stand in a downpour doesn't make for great portraiture.  This caused challenges with getting photographs and interviews together before people had to get to the bus for the ride to work, or off to other appointments.  And, as a result, we lost a couple of participants.

After photographing and interviewing one of our subjects on Thursday, she asked that her photograph not be used.  Since she is dealing with domestic violence and fears for her safety, her request is quite understandable. However, since this is a book of portrait photography it is difficult to reconcile including her compelling story into the book without a corresponding photograph.  We are still trying to sort this one out.

We have had a challenge finding a representative of that very important component the homeless population - the victim of domestic violence - to participate in this project.  If you know of anyone in this situation, or someone that has come through it and would be willing to be involved in the project, please let me know.

Of the six homeless people (including two people from one family) and one writer that I photographed on Thursday, here is the image of Dizzy Wind. Dizzy is a musician from Milwaukee who plays in the Boulder area. Marsha Perlman will reach out to Dizzy to write his story.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Faces at the Carriage House

Today, Joy Eckstine and I had planned to visit the Deacon's Closet at First Presbyterian Church.  The church opens to the public on Thursday mornings to offer clothing, toiletries, small housewares, books and other miscellaneous items at no cost to individuals with special or recurring needs.  We had hoped to find some homeless people there that would be willing to participate in our project by having their photograph taken and be interviewed for a story for the book.  However, we never left the Carriage House.

Today, we found plenty of people interested in participating in the project at the Carriage House.  Of course, as always, some people that were invited to participate chose to decline for a variety of reasons.  That's pretty understandable.  However, I photographed six individuals and one couple.  All pictures were taken within yards of the Carriage House.

This is the photograph of Eric and LeDriedre. Next week, they will be leaving the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and moving to permanent housing.  Congratulations on their transition!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Writers' Day

On Saturday morning, Elle and I hosted some of the writers at our home and studio for coffee, bagels and portraits.  The sun peeked through following days (it seems like weeks) of rain clouds and gave us the chance to get outdoor photographs of some writers for the book.  Since not all writers could join us, we intend to hold another writers' morning in July.

Here's the photograph of Carol Grever.  Carol was one of the first writers in the project. I met Carol at a Boulder Rotary Club meeting last fall when Attention Homes was presenting the meeting's program.  Not only is Carol a past president of that Rotary club, she is an accomplished and published author, and she is a member of some local writers groups.  Carol is VERY well connected!  She was so struck with the concept for this book and the cause that it will serve that she attended our organizational meeting, recruited a number of our early writers, and has encouraged us along the way.  Carol has been a wonderful member of the project team and she demonstrates how Rotary works within the community and between clubs.

A particularly big Thank You goes to Maryjo Faith Morgan for leaving her house guests early on a Saturday and driving from Loveland to be with us.  She's a delightful and wonderfully energetic person!

Getting to meet some of our writers for the first time was particularly rewarding.  Since most of our communication has been via email, it was great to connect a face with a person, and with the story that they wrote.  And, isn't connecting faces with people a key part of what this project is all about?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Volunteer Faces

Over the past couple of weeks, I had the privilege of photographing some volunteers from the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.  The Shelter is a key component of the homeless community, providing meals and overnight shelter in winter months.  It provides support services to the homeless in Boulder throughout the year.

Through the outstanding help of Gina Barajas, the Shelter's Volunteer Manager, I was connected with Jon and Deborah Davis, and Joe Pickett.  Jon and Deborah have volunteered for years in the Shelter's kitchen to prepare and serve meals.  Joe volunteers with Boulder County Cares and with other organizations that serve the homeless.  Boulder County Cares is the street outreach program of the Boulder Shelter.  BCC volunteers canvass the community every winter evening, distributing blankets, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing, and providing food to unsheltered homeless people who are living on the streets.

This is the photograph of Jon and Deborah, taken in the kitchen of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday Morning by the Creek

Joy Eckstine, Elle and I met yesterday for another of our morning photo expeditions. Our goal was to capture about five photographs of Boulder's homeless. We came away with three pictures and agreements for stories to be told after an enjoyable couple of morning hours along Boulder Creek.

Different from our visits to Pearl Street Mall, the Boulder Library and the Band Shell, yesterday we toured Boulder Creek - the location of the inspiration for this project. (See the early blog posts for that background.)  Turns out that a higher percentage of the homeless population on the creek early in the morning are less inclined to be photographed than those where we have earlier worked.  That's the reason that we had hoped for five participants and getting only three.  It wasn't because Joy didn't greet her friends along the creek!

While there will be three interesting stories coming from the two morning hours along Boulder Creek between the library and the Justice Center, I'll introduce one of them here.

I photographed Mark and Elle interviewed him. Mark just arrived in Boulder a couple of days ago after having traveled from Alaska and Texas.  To help him carry his possessions, Mark has designed an attachment for his backpack to which he can lash bags of clothing.  The attachment has wheels so that it can be towed when Mark is walking.  Mark believes the idea is worthy of a patent.

A memorial to Mark's mother can be found at the San Jose Rose Garden.  She started the nation's largest food bank during a career that included work in a circus (as a lion tamer!) and sheltering indigent women that could not qualify for public assistance.  As a testimony to his mother's passion for others, Mark wants to do work that somehow helps the homeless while he stays in Boulder.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Terri at the Library

Had a quick portrait session with Terri at the Boulder Library yesterday. Thanks to Tomas deMers, a writer with the Denver Voice ( for connecting us.

Terri's history includes playing violin professionally in concert settings in Boulder and San Francisco.  However, when her locker at the Boulder Shelter was cleaned out according to schedule a couple of years ago, and Terri wasn't present, her violin was discarded.

She is no longer homeless and has an apartment. Terri works with the arts program at the Carriage House.

Terri is in the process of writing her story. Like the stories of so many others, I am very eager to read it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two New Faces

Yesterday I met two new friends at the intersection of homelessness and mainstream.  I photographed Lisa Morzel in the Boulder City Council Chambers, and I photographed Anna Maria Pirone in her Stand Up for Kids facility.

A longtime resident of Boulder, Lisa has been a member of the Boulder City Council for years.  Starting in 1995 and continuing through today, with time away from the Council from 2003 - 2007, Lisa has represented Boulder citizens with a particular focus on environmental, social and economic issues.  When not working on city business, Lisa is a Research Geologist for USGS.  She has a particular awareness and knowledge of homelessness.  Sharon Monroe is Lisa's writer.  What an inspirational story Lisa has to tell via Sharon!

I then walked from the city Municipal building at 1777 Broadway to the Masonic Lodge at 2205 Broadway and the basement facility of Stand Up for Kids.  SUFK leases the space from the Lodge in order to help homeless and street kids.  As part of the national SUFK organization, the Boulder program focuses volunteers' passion for kids through food drives, street outreach, counseling, and providing a safe environment for kids without homes.

Anna is Executive Director of Boulder's Stand Up for Kids program. Her story is being written by Beth Bartel.  While I haven't yet seen her story, Beth has a wonderful opportunity to capture Anna's passion for kids, and Anna's amazing story of challenges while growing up in New York.

Here's a photograph of Anna Maria Pirone.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Surprise Opportunity

Yesterday, I met Jade Beaty at Naropa University's Alan Ginsburg library.  Jade is now, as she has often been, between lodging locations.  Generally, she stays with friends in homes that are compatible with Jade's chemical sensitivities.  Jade works in the Denver/Longmont area and is an Intimacy Consultant through her business, Sensual Wisdom.  She's applying to become a student at Naropa.  Although she doesn't believe that she is very photogenic, I am quite pleased with yesterday's photograph of Jade.

After wrapping up at Naropa, I stopped by Zing Hair Style on Spruce Street to visit with Joy Douglas, Zing's owner.  Formerly homeless, Joy is now a local businessperson.  I photographed Joy a couple of weeks ago but did not have a model release card at that time.  Yesterday's visit was to get Joy's signature on the release card.  I'm also happy to have provided a digital file of that photograph to Joy for her use on Zing's website.

While in the area, I stopped by the Carriage House Community table to connect with Joy Eckstine, its Executive Director.  After a conversation about a tragic and senseless hit-and-run fatality involving a Carriage House guest and member of Boulder's homeless population, I was introduced to "Paul" and learned of his willingness to be included in our project.  It was a surprise to connect with Paul and have the opportunity for an unexpected photograph.  But, my years of working in sales whispered to me to take Paul's photograph now despite an afternoon of commitments, rather than trying to schedule time with Paul for some point in the future -- some time that might be more convenient for me.

Paul is a long-time Boulder resident although his college years were spent in Santa Cruz, California.  Paul's contact information will be firmed-up with access to email and a phone number in a few days. Until then, I have only a photograph and assurance from Paul that he has a VERY interesting story.  I'm sure that one of our writers will relish spending time with Paul and hearing what he has to say!

Here is "Paul's" photograph, taken just across the parking lot from the Carriage House.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday Morning Photos & Stories

Yesterday morning, Elle and I joined Joy and Chad of the Carriage House, and writers Curtine Metcalf and Cheri Hoffer to find homeless people that would like their stories told.  After planning our objectives at the Carriage House, we made a beeline to the Boulder Band Shell - a part of Boulder's Central Park - where many of Boulder's homeless congregate.  (See the post of 12/21/10 for photos of and at the Band Shell.)

Near or at the Band Shell, we met with four currently homeless people and captured their photographs.  Curtine and Cheri partnered with three of the homeless for interviews.  One of the homeless men that we photographed wants to write his own story -- fulfillment of a longstanding desire to tell young people of his mistakes in a way that will encourage them to choose another path.

While we were at the Band Shell a small group of volunteers, possibly from Naropa, brought pots of warm soup and clothing to distribute.  Shortly after that, a Boulder Police officer arrived to enforce laws against distributing food without a permit.  One assumes that the intention of the laws is good - to prevent someone from knowingly or unknowingly giving "bad" food to others. But, as one of the homeless people said, "Don't they know that most of us have eaten food from dumpsters."

As our morning was finishing, Elle and I received a request from Joy.  A local salon owner, formerly homeless, would like to tell her story.  So, we stopped by the Boulder salon, set up our lights and captured the portrait. Jennifer Sleek-Klevdal will interview this entrepreneur.

One of our participants, Hope, has a service dog named Baby.  Hope says that she rescued Baby and that Baby now rescues her.  I am eager to read Curtine's story about Hope and Baby.  That's the portrait of Hope and Baby, to the left.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back from Travel

After being on the road for a couple of weeks, I was happy to return to our project today.

The morning started with a Rotary club meeting and a quick update on the project. (Very well received by Niwot Rotary members who are supportive of our vision and efforts!)

Then, off for an initial meeting with Travis Railey, Development & Marketing Director at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (  The Boulder Shelter is a huge part of the homeless landscape in Boulder and Travis was kind to spend a half hour with me to introduce the various services housed in and operated through the Shelter.  Based on that conversation, we're hoping to arrange an interview with a volunteer for Boulder County Cares.  This interview will help tell the story of the street outreach program of the Shelter that utilizes trained volunteers to canvass the community every winter evening, distributing blankets, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing, and providing food to unsheltered homeless people who are living on the streets.

We would also like to interview a long-time Shelter volunteer who serves meals to the homeless.  Such volunteer insight to the interface between the homeless and mainstream population would be excellent. Also excellent would some insight into how over 83,000 hot meals are prepared and served by the Shelter to homeless folks each year - at a cost of less than a dime each!

Then, I was fortunate to join Michelle Weiner-Davis at the Starbucks on University Hill. Michelle was completing her interview of Cassie Gedbaw, Coordinator of the CU chapter of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. Cassie is passionate about serving the less fortunate and educating the University's students about homelessness.  One's hope for the future is bolstered when hearing of the selfless work of Cassie and her peers.  I'm eager to read the story that Michelle will write.

My morning finished with a portrait session with Cassie at the east end of Varsity Lake on the CU campus.  She's a lovely lady.  Wouldn't you agree?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Day of Photographs

Joy Eckstein, of the Carriage House, offered to host Elle and me for a photographic tour of downtown Boulder in search of homeless people that would like to have their stories told in our book. (What photographer wouldn't like to join a guide for a photographic expedition! Particularly an expedition that is so meaningful!) So, enjoying yesterday's wonderful weather, we started at the Carriage House, walked the Pearl Street mall, and finished at the main branch of the Boulder Public Library.

We captured images of eight subjects, digitally recorded an interview with one, and received agreement for the others to either write their own stories, or to be interviewed by the project's writers.

It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

This is a photograph of Rabbit that I captured by the courthouse on the Pearl Street mall.  He has a pretty exciting story to tell....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Betsy Duckett, RN

Yesterday, I photographed Betsy Duckett in follow-up to an interview that Doug Hill conducted with Betsy last week. Betsy is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the People's Medical Clinic on 13th Street.

Betsy knows the homeless. As the Clinic's Homeless Outreach Nurse, it is Betsy that spends much of her time outside of the clinic to meet with patients and provide access to medical care to many of Boulder's homeless population. She meets them where they are - at the Shelter, the Carriage House, Attention Homes, and elsewhere. After the photography, I showed Betsy images of those photographed for the project so far. She named each person.

A woman of great compassion, Betsy describes her calling as part medical and part social work. She's a specialized case worker.

Boulder's homeless are fortunate to have Betsy caring for them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Katrina & Dionshay

Elle and I met with and interviewed Katrina and Dionshay this afternoon. What an amazing and inspirational story!

As a ward of the state of Colorado since she was two, Katrina has been homeless for much of her adult life. The opportunity to have her four year old son returned to her custody led Katrina to change her situation and get on a new path.

She is now in an apartment with Dionshay, is no longer drinking and is looking forward to a productive life. Later, she wants to return to school for training in radiology, culinary arts, or automotive repair. But, for now, her focus in on taking care of Dionshay and getting him into school.

For those that believe life is the result of the choices we make, Katrina's story shows that positive choices can turn around a life and set it on a new course. I'm inspired by this formerly homeless woman!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where Are the Photographs Taken?

In order to capture the images of people in Boulder's homeless community, we go where they are. In the case of yesterday afternoon's interview, it was to the main branch of the Boulder Public Library in the art gallery at the north entrance.

Before the interview with Angela and Keith, I photographed the couple. And, in the process of my photographing, our writer, Anne Doyle, took a picture of me.

These photos show the place where we met with Angela and Keith, and the resulting image of them.

A Missed Appointment

Yesterday afternoon, we were scheduled to interview and photograph a homeless woman at the Boulder library. She missed our appointment. Later, I learned that she had a chemotherapy session on Thursday, the day before, and she was sick. She simply couldn't get to our session.

When I'm sick, I can stay home in bed to recover. Where does a homeless person rest and recover?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adding Writers

We have over 30 writers that would like to be involved in this project to give faces and voice to the homeless in Boulder. We are eager for the writers to help tell the story of homelessness so that those in the mainstream will learn, grow and be aware.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to again meet with Doug Hill. Recently returned from a visit with family in New Jersey, Doug was formerly homeless in Boulder. He will soon start work at a new restaurant in town. Doug is a writer who has written a number of pieces about homelessness and his experience on the streets.

For our project, Doug will be paired with a mainstream person to interview about their intersection with the homeless.

Like all of our authors, Doug's picture will be included in the book along with a very brief bio. I was able to capture Doug's portrait at the Boulder Bookstore, after sharing coffee with him at Bookends, next door.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What About Volunteer Photographers?

A couple of times I've been asked if we need photographers for the project, as we appreciate the many writers that have volunteered. While the answer - No - is simple, some background is in order.

When I conceived this project in October, I anticipated doing all the photography, writing, graphics and publishing myself. Those thoughts lasted only until the enormity of the undertaking, and balancing it with my work and other commitments, became clear. Advice from family, friends and fellow Rotarians helped fix my misconceptions.

The need for a variety of writers and a variety of styles - all well executed - became apparent. I'm not a widely published or professional writer. Very quickly, we were introduced to people in the Boulder writing community that shared our concern for this vulnerable segment of our population. And, many of these people wanted to contribute their talents. Greatly appreciated!

Through the advice and connections of others, we've been introduced to graphics and layout artists that are interested in exploring how they can help with the project. Greatly appreciated!

So that leaves the photography. Since I'm a professional photographer with over 40 years of amateur and professional experience; and since I specialize in portrait photography; and since I have the time, equipment, and ability to do an excellent job in this aspect of the project; and since my vision for this has always included consistency of style with the photography, I intend to handle the photography myself, with onsite assistance from other photographers as they would like.

It's not that we don't want additional photographers, it simply appears that we won't need them for the majority of the project.

For those interested in seeing samples of my photography, please visit

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Background and Instructions for Writers

Our project's book title is:
Until They Have Faces: Boulder
Stories of Resilience, Recovery and Redemption

The goal of this photographic coffee-table book project is to
• create connection with and reinforce the humanity of the homeless
• spotlight what is going on at the intersection of their lives and the mainstream community
• be a fundraising source for Project Revive in its support for the homeless community.

We want the book to be highly relevant to our readers/audience and address the questions that mainstream folks may be uncomfortable asking but about which they are truly curious.

For example, in a social setting I was recently told by a couple of friends, “We don’t come in contact with the homeless. We live in Boulder.” Our goal is to help them SEE the intersections and understand what’s behind the faces.

In addition to writing about the homeless individuals, interviews will include people whose lives regularly cross those of the homeless; e.g. police, emergency workers, shelter workers, people who have overcome homelessness and others.

Every story will be accompanied by a professional portrait and will be 750-1000 words in length. We will arrange the meetings, and would like to have them take place at the same time as the portrait. Bear in mind that the homeless are a transient population and you may not be able to follow up after the initial interview. We’re requesting a 10-day turn-around for the final version from the author.

The writer’s job is to give voice to the subject, to help them communicate whatever message they feel the need to communicate. It may be about how they became homeless, how they view their life, the prejudice they encounter, etc. We want to avoid a book of just “how I became homeless”.

Some of the recommended questions for the interviews are:
• What do you want people to know about you?
• What are the best aspects of living on the street? Worst?
• What is your dream? What calls you?
• Looking back, what one thing would you choose to do differently?
• How do you view the “man on the street”? What do you think when someone doesn’t give you a handout?
• What holds you here?
• Was there a “switch point” in your life?
• What thought is at the top of your mind each morning? Evening?
• What do you see are your personal strengths? Weaknesses?
• What opportunities do you have?
• What threatens to sabotage you?
• What do you fear?

The writers should be aware and plan for negativity expressed during the interviews. This will be true for both the homeless and the people who work with the homeless. We don’t want to be Pollyannaish, we also don’t want to give voice to pent up vitriol or specific political positions. This is to be informative rather than persuasive.

Writers should also be aware that the version of reality they hear may not match other people’s versions. They need to explore to draw out as much of the facts as possible.

Writers' Update

At a meeting of Rob Sibley and Elle Page yesterday, we learned that we have about 28 writers now interested in participating with our project. (Rob and Elle are our writer coordinators.) Since we anticipate between 40 - 50 stories to be told of local homeless people and the mainstream folks that intersect with them, this is a wonderful ratio of writers to stories at this point! However, we continue to seek local writers. So, if you are an accomplished writer or know of a writer with an interest in the homeless, please let us know!

For writers interested in taking the next step to become involved:
1. Send Rob Sibley ( and Elle Page ( a sample of your writing (or a URL direct to it) that would be most relevant to this project.
2. Tell us where you live (city). We would like to use primarily Boulder County residents.
3. Let us know if you'd be interested in writing one or two stories.

Rob and Elle will review the samples and select writers. Those selected will be given the option of several dates/times for interviews (usually in conjunction with a 15-30 minute photo shoot).

This is a voluntary, non-paid writing opportunity. If your piece is included in the book, your story and byline will be on the page with the portrait and you will be included in the book on the list of authors (likely with a portrait photo and brief bio).

Three writers have already been assigned a subject and we are in the process of having five more writers get connected with a subject and me, the project's photographer. Our project is underway!