HeartsApart.org was created by our amazingly talented and generous photographic community. Founded in Wilmington, NC, its mission is to keep our military families at the forefront of our consciousness for all they sacrifice on a daily basis. It’s a way to keep deployed families within an arm’s reach of each other, even while serving overseas. At the crux is a set of bi-fold photos, taken by some of the most well-respected, highly sought-after photographers in our nation. These bi-folds fit neatly in the deployed serviceperson’s uniform pocket. The photos are of immediate family: children, and spouses. The inside of the bi-fold is an intimate, “for their eyes only” shot of the other spouse. The wallet-sized, plastic-coated set of folded photos means the world to the person carrying it. It means s/he has family at their fingertips when they are half-way across the globe.
I’ll never forget the day that Charleston photographer, Diana Deaver, asked me to be involved with this project. She was the local photographer who was asked to photograph a Charleston Air Force family before the husband/dad’s deployment. Although I did not know much about this organization at the time, I did know Diana. She possesses one of the most giving, generous hearts of any one I’ve ever met. There was no “let me check my calendar. . .” it was only, “tell me where and when, D. . .” As you can see from the resulting photographs, she got what she was aiming for with this young military family.
The icing on the cake came in the form of a Brownie. Harris, that is. I was set up in the kitchen of our studio for the day, and I heard a voice I’ll always have locked in. That mellifluous, genteel voice of Brownie Harris. I had no idea he’d be popping in during the day, nor that he was involved in this at all. But as a matter of fact, Brownie is one of the visionaries of this organization. He has helped grow HeartsApart.org into something so much more far-reaching than was ever imagined. He spoke glowingly of Diana and said what a gifted photographer of women she was; that she had an especially sensitive way of helping women let their guard down, and then REALLY capturing them with her camera. I found this to be the highest of compliments, but having seen Diana work previously, I already knew it to be true. It was simply phenomenal to hear Brownie articulate it.
This is one of the most worthwhile projects I’ve ever been involved in. Thank you, Universe, for allowing me to see this first hand. And thanks to the following:
The Kihn-Hurt family. . . for letting your family’s light shine on us all, and for the sacrifice you make every day.
HeartsApart.org, for such a magnificent undertaking.
Diana Deaver, photographer of souls.
Brownie Harris, for your insight, direction, and worldly experience.
Collette Mruk, for your supreme organizational skills and kind heart.
Mike K., for the use of your home and space.
And to anyone else whom I’ve unwittingly left out. . . thank you.