I'm woman 214…

My talented and amazing friend Andrea Leoncavallo, a freelance photographer and documentary filmmaker in Portland, Oregon recently photographed me for her yearlong series “She Inspires 365” in which she challenged herself to create 365 portraits of women which would be revealed on her blog, one each day. Andrea describes the project as “a space for recognizing the natural brilliance of women” so  I was really honored to become woman 214!

http://www.lionhorseproductions.com/?p=2076

Andrea and I met many years ago when she joined the staff of Video/Action, a not-for-profit production company in Washington D.C. dedicated to telling the stories of those whose voices are rarely heard (the founder, Robin Smith, is woman in the series).  I was the Senior Producer at the time and we had a small staff, limited resources, and numerous deadlines. And we felt an enormous responsibility to the very courageous people we were working with who shared their often painful stories, on camera, in order to help others.  So, bringing a new person on staff was always challenging and a little nerve-wracking.  You can teach someone how to book a crew or put together a production schedule.  You can help them write interview questions.  You can suggest how they might find a story arc.  But , in my view, you cannot teach someone how to make a woman feel supported as she describes years of abuse or how to make a father who has lost his daughter feel comfortable speaking about the night she was murdered.  That ability is something that comes from within, a genuine desire to listen and to create a safe space for people to share their stories.  And, while I am always flattered when I hear Andrea refer to me as her mentor, I believe this is a gift that she always had and that, perhaps, I simply helped her access.  And she brings that same gift to this amazing photographic series, putting her subjects at ease and inviting them to share. The results are really lovely – by turns funny, and whimsical, and magical, and wise and inspiring.  We had a blast during our photo shoot which basically just involved me babbling (semi-coherently) about why I practice yoga and then doing a short practice for Andrea to photograph.  So, go check it out and feel the power of 216 women and counting…