Now that things have settled down a bit from the hectic pace of a new year, I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts with you. The ‘00-03 book is finished, the NJPPA dinner was delicious and a great chance to meet some new members, and summer is almost here! Mike McLaughlin has graciously volunteered to mail the book to members who didn’t get a personal delivery, so please contact him if you didn’t get one yet. We’re in the process of getting an estimate for the ‘04 book, which will be done in a more timely fashion now that we’re up-to-date and can deal with one year at a time. Extra copies can be purchased via the form on the website, and they make great gifts for family and friends.
Thanks to Veronica Yankowski and Mike McLaughlin, our outgoing officers, and to Kathy King and Marjorie Amon Stone, who were elected to fill their positions. Everyone has worked hard to make a smooth transition, but we need your help in keeping us informed of changes to your contact information, whether it be an address, phone or email change. Liz Lara handed over the clip reigns to Tyson Trish, who is continuing to keep this monthly chore running like clockwork, and Amy Newman has volunteered to help with the POY contest next year. Thanks to all who are contributing and giving something back….NJPPA would not survive without you.
Speaking of giving something back, please check out the Heart Gallery NJ website, www.heartgallerynj.com. Najlah Feanny Hicks took an idea she read about a mere four months ago and has grown it into one of the most comprehensive and passionate projects I’ve ever had the honor of being part of. We often speak about giving something back, but after participating in a Heart Gallery shoot last week, I have to say that I received much more than I gave. The kids I photographed made me laugh, and to see them smile in return was a gift, especially knowing how hard their lives have been. Jasmire, 10, wasted no time when she quipped, “Is it true the camera adds 20 pounds?” I looked at her, then looked at the camera bag strapped around my waist and replied, “Only to me, honey.”
Star Ledger photojournalist Jennifer Brown with a foster child she photographed for the Heart Gallery Project. - Thomas E. Franklin / The Record
An unexpected bonus was getting the chance to catch up to many photo friends I haven’t seen in a while, and to meet new ones as well. There has been a groundswell of support in the photo community that is just so refreshing and rewarding to see. Naj has recruited more than 150 photographers, 15 photo editors and many tech support folks to contribute, and every one of them is needed. At last count, there are close to 400 children eligible for adoption in NJ. Remember when we were young and wanted to “change the world” with our photographs? I’m convinced this is the chance to do just that. So please check out the site, and more importantly, please forward it to anyone you think might be interested in adoption, foster parenting, or donating to a worthy cause. Many of our publications (and countless TV and radio programs) have already featured the Heart Gallery project, but word of mouth is still a great way to communicate!