Archive for September, 2011

Tonight, I celebrate.

Posted in Misc Projects, StudioBurns on September 30, 2011 by Jerry

Tonight I will celebrate.

Six months ago, my friend Lisa Turner, approached me about a project she was involved in through her church, St. Luke’s. It seems, ten years ago they teamed up with Ebeneezer Baptist to create an incredible mission of love and vision. They identified 60 second graders who, at the time, attended the A.D. Williams school in Atlanta. The prognosis for them graduating high school was about 6%. They were in compromised situations, income, family support, resources….you know the story. Without intervention, it didn’t look promising.

Up step the pastors of the churches who make a pledge on behalf of their combined congregations: To mentor each and every student through high school AND provide financial help for their post secondary education. Wow! Daunting doesn’t even begin to describe this undertaking! But through dedication and perseverance, the miracle has come to the launch pad. 55 of the original 60 are graduating high school and ready to begin the next exciting phase of their lives. (The remaining five moved away from Atlanta over the years.)

Time to pay up.

Lisa’s idea was to get someone to ‘take pictures’ of them, ‘The Dreamers’ as they came to be known, so that the congregation and supporters could get an update on them and their story.

As a professional commercial photographer I have spent my time and talent over the past 30 years basically ‘making the rich guy richer’ by helping them sell their products and services. In between those projects, if you’re lucky, someone drops a gift in your lap. Here was one.

If these images could compel people to reach into their hearts and wallets and make this dream come true, I was all in. We did two separate sessions and part one was in the can.

Simultaneously, I’d been in conversation with my friend, Matthew Porter, an accomplished writer, who was in a similar mind space….wanting to do some good. Matt had made contact with an organization in Chicago called EPIC. Engaging Philanthropy Inspiring Creatives. Inspired by their model, he pulled together an All Star Team of creatives in Atlanta and was in search of a launch project.

‘Good Thinking’ was born.

Perfect Storm. We rallied. I shot images, they created identities, logos, websites, posters, collateral….the works.

Along the way, Jennifer Holliday, (Tony and Grammy winner, Dream Girls) saw the prints at St Luke’s and was moved to donate $20k. It was working!
So, tonight we celebrate with an evening of jazz in the theater at Georgia Public Broadcasting featuring Joe Grandsen and the incredible Francine Reed.