End Childhood Hunger in Yavapai County Arizona

 

End Child Hunger in Yavapai County, Arizona

One in three children in Yavapai County, northern Arizona, doesn’t know where his/her next meal will come from, skips meals, or gets up from the table still hungry. While some students may get free or reduced price meals at school they lack regular meals at home. And, that’s not counting the pre-school children. In all, that translates to 15,000 hungry little bellies.

This brief documentary (12 minutes) focuses primarily on those most deeply affected: the children. The goal in making this film was to let the young people themselves drive the video as much as possible. At times children interviewed their parents and teachers, often asking very insightful questions. Children speak about how it feels to be hungry. They speak about how it feels to watch their parents sacrifice and how it feels to go to a food bank for food. In the documentary children engage in learning about healthy food choices, healthy life styles, and ways to help other children who face hunger. Although there are some interviews with the “experts,” such as a pediatric nurse, a principal, teachers, and food bank directors, the real experts are the children themselves. The narrator of the documentary is a student devoted to alleviating child hunger.

Parts of rural Northern Arizona rank with Mississippi, and now New Mexico, two states with the dubious distinction of being most filled with people facing withering poverty. Yavapai County, approximately the size of the state of Massachusetts, recently had a poverty rate of more than 20%. That means many children live in homes where they can’t count on food. But its not only the problem of poor families. Many families, particularly the working poor, may live just above the poverty line but struggle to live paycheck to paycheck, and struggle to put food on the table.

There is no Arizona state agency to alleviate hunger. So, local communities have stepped in to support their neighbors. But with the best intentions these band-aid stopgaps are still not enough. Local food banks from small corner operations to the large Yavapai Food Bank report more and more people coming in for food. They struggle to meet the growing demand. The Yavapai Food Council has successfully launched the Neighborhood Food Program, where neighbors supply bags of canned goods and nutritious package goods, in two areas—the Sedona area and Prescott. The collections from neighbors go to local food banks. Kids Against Hunger is donating half of its food to local programs for children.

Getting nutritious food to children may be a complex web of government and community groups. But the simple truth is that children are getting more and more involved and have more and more of a say in helping each other. Children are growing home and school gardens and are active in their communities to help alleviate hunger.

The target audience is the general public. Many people have no idea that their neighbors, including their neighbors’ children are hungry. If they are aware of the problem they don’t know how they can help. The goal is to raise awareness and funds and encourage Community participation.

Star York

Star York with horse sculpture
Star York

“Quiet Your Mind, Open Your Heart” is a multimedia video about internationally renowned sculptress Star York.

Star York trains horses and practices Tai Qi to nurture her creativity.

Internationally renowned sculptress Star York describes her creative process to create award-winning sculptures of wildlife, Native Americans, Cowboys.

She quiets her mind and opens her heart by training her horses, doing Tai Qi meditative movements, and working in her Abiquiu, New Mexico studio.

The goal of the multimedia video “Quiet Your Mind, Open Your Heart,” was to present Star’s creative process, which was to be used as a promotional piece. The main challenge was technical. I was cutting my teeth on audio and it was the first time I was the videographer. The only solution was to go in there, make mistakes and keep learning. Fortunately Star was patient.

Another challenge was the sheer body of Star’s work. What was the best way to represent this highly prolific, creative person who has been sculpting for more than 30 years, has been highly awarded, and publicized.

The solution here was to focus not on her work—that had been done, but how she nurtures her creativity. To cover her work we scanned photos and tear sheets of her earlier work. And, I had the permission of Wendy McEahern to use her beautiful studio photographs of Star’s sculpture. It’s always a challenge to find music that can legally be used. Star suggested I contact the composer, performer Phillip John “Aarnaquq” Charette, about using one of her favorite musical pieces, “Eagle Song.” He readily gave permission.

The final challenge, which came up during editing, was whether it is possible to use the highly personal nature of a digital story for promotional purposes. During the interviews, there was an emotional transformative moment when Star revealed the personal meaning of one of her cowboy sculptures.

The rough cut of the multimedia piece was a digital story of revelation and transformation. However, this seemed much too personal for a promotional piece. The solution here was to work collaboratively to give Star what she needed to promote her artwork.

Credits

“Quiet the Mind, Open Your Heart” written, produced, filmed, and edited by Pam Taylor.
Photography © Pam Taylor Photography

Studio photography © Wendy McEahern. “Grama’s Gifts,” “Over the Top,” “Purrfect Lazy Day,” “Regal Repose,” “Rocksie,” “Roll,” “Scratch,”“Starwildlife,” “Range Duty,” “Greatest Gift,”

Additional images by Rachel Brock, Jeff Shulman, Dell Weston, and Star York.
Music: “Eagle Song” by Phillip John “Aarnaquq” Charette

David Michael Kennedy on Portraiture

Portrail of David Michael Kennedy
David Michael Kennedy

This is a spin off of a Video Boot Camp at The Santa Fe Workshops, taught by Richard Newman. At the workshop 5 participants created a group video about famous photographer David Michael Kennedy. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from David Michael Kennedy, the learning environment created by Newman, as well the creativity and enthusiasm of the team.
When I got home I really wanted to practice the techniques we had learned using the assets but with my own
creative vision. I focused on the question I had asked, “How do you Connect with People?,” used the footage for that interview (shot by Christine Garceau and John Dickson), added some images of Kennedy’s work, and some B roll I shot.
Newman was very encouraging in my little endeavor and he facilitated permission from the Santa Fe Workshops, which they graciously gave. David Michael Kennedy has been very supportive. I made some some minor changes he suggested. To my delight and surprise he sent me several more images to cover “jump cuts.” In the end, David Michael Kennedy not only approved the video for my portfolio, but liked it so much he wants to put the video on his website.

Edwin Sulca

 

Master weaver Edwin Sulca of Ayacucho Peru creates tapestries rich in the legacy of the Andean cultural traditions. for more than 20 years
the people of Ayacucho endured the terrorism of the the Sendero Luminoso, birthed in the small mountain town, and later the goernment
troops sent to battle the terrorists.
Sulca, wove the histories of his people in his tapestries. When we met in his hometown more than 15 years ago he just began to speak about the meanings of his tapestires, his hopes and dreams for his people, and for universal peace.
Recently I visited Sulca and interviewed him about his creativity, his work, and his life. This is a short audio clip where he is
speaking about his most famous piece, “El Viento,” The Wind.
“I wish to be like the wind that runs over the continents, and drags all evils, and smashes them against the rocks. I wish to be the brother who gives his hand to the fallen one, and , strongly embraced, seeks the peace of the world.’

 

Hunger in the Verde Valley: The Silent Disease

Face of Rural Hunger
This man, like other people in the Verde Valley uses a local Food Bank
because food is scarce.

The Verde Valley, population 60,000, once northern Arizona’s breadbasket of agriculture is struggling with rural hunger.  One in four adults, or approximately 15,000 people don’t know where their next meal will come from. Even worse, one in three children are hungry and malnourished.  That’s 20,000 hungry children.

These numbers are increasing as close to half of the middle class residents are sliding into poverty, due to job loss, low wages, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies.

The working poor, often juggling several low paying jobs, find they need to turn to emergency food resources because they can’t make it.

The people living in the Verde Valley are proud, independent, and hard working, when they can get work.  They are unwilling, for the most part, to reveal their inability to put food on the table.

Hunger here is a Silent Disease.

Go to www.YavapaiFoodCouncil.org to learn more or donate.

Sedona Red Rock Renewal

 

Sedona Red Rocks
Cathedral Rock Sedona

Sedona (a pdf link to article) –Coastal Isles magazine recently published my article/photo essay about experiencing the red rock landscape of Sedona, Arizona. I arrived a spectator happy to enjoy the IMax quality beauty from behind a camera lens. With the help of many inspired artists, healers, yoga and qi-gong instructors, I now feel I  participate in this gorgeous red rock landscape.

Indian Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Anderson is a Penobscot Indian of midcoast Maine.
He comes from a long line of people who have used
their entrepenurial acumen to survive during tough
economic times.  Anderson grew up on the Old Town
Indian reservation where he learned how to gather
materials for baskets and make baskets along with
the rest of the community. Eventually he collected and
sold baskets, as his parents and grandparents had.

Although they had to become salesmen to survive, his
family boasted activists–his aunt was responsible for
obtaining voting rights for Penobscots in Maine.

I met Bob when he was 82 and was just recovering
from a stroke.  He was humorous, direct, and practical
when I interviewed him for this brief video which
explores stereotypes about Native Americans.

Baskets from pamela y. taylor on Vimeo.

I put together this very short story in 4 intense days
at the Maine Media Workshops under the expert
instruction of Bruce Strong.

Kerala India

 

trader at sunset on Kovalum Beach, India
Coastal Carolina Life  just published an
article I wrote and photographed about
south Kerala, India.  SouthKerala (a PDF version,
which shows the layout)

There is actually a funny story behind this article.
Last December(2011) I went to India for a month
with a friend.  I was not on assignment, but of
course I couldn’t resist taking pictures.  It was
a challenge to carry all my clothes and my
camera gear in a back pack for a month.

Most of the trip was in south Kerala with its
beautiful beaches, ayuvedic centers, rich cultural
events, such as Kathikali, the ancient dance drama,
and Indian classical dance and martial arts.
Other highlights were a visit to an ashram, an
overnight birthday trip on a converted rice barge,
and a sojourn in the home of a Keralite family.
I also enjoyed many visits to an amazing diversity
of religious sites–Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish,
and Jain.

It was a journey of stunning landscapes, lovely people,
exotic food, and rich cultural displays.

This summer, while driving across the US midwest,
I received an email from Carolyn Males, the new
editor of Coastal Carolina Living, asking if I could
supply an article about India, complete with
photos. So it was that I found myself madly typing
on my laptop about moist tropical Kerala  as my
friend drove thousands of miles across the parched US
midwest.

I found it enormous fun to once again write and
illustrate as I had many years ago.  So far I’ve
received the most comments about the Ayuvedic
foot massage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explorations

Epidaurus Greece
Dreaming at Aesclypian Temple, Greece

Being around so many creative artists, I feel drawn to exploring with different media, not just photography.
Sometimes exploring means a journey inward instead of to another continent. A dream, a vision, a painting, can become the passport stamp. Exploring can be traveling to Greece with Jungian therapist and dream tender JoHanna McNamee and going on an inner journey of dreams and visions.
Exploring  means painting with abandon or making a clay mask on a hot summer day.
Exploring means combining photographs, paints, fresco to create an image.  Here are some still-wet experiments with different media such as gel emulsion transfer, fresco, painting, and clay, using photographs and Photoshop as a basis.
Exploring can also mean going to the edge of our known understandings.  An example is “The Next Level of Living,” a short video about a man dying of a malignant brain tumor and how it transformed him, his family, and friends.

Currently I’m exploring audio portraits about enduring relationships.

Arches National Park, Utah
digital image of Arches, Utah

digital image of Arches, Utah

I have galleries of mixed media images called Alternatives-Mixed Media.
Also, check out the work of mixed-media artist Peggy Doig.

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