Last year I had the pleasure of working on a fulfilling project with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. I was hired by Denna Draybek, Director of Corporate Communications, to photograph their annual 2013 fund-raising campaign. Denna invited me in early in the project during the initial planning and creative stage, which was very nice. It allowed me to brainstorm with the graphic designer, printer, marketing people, and the rest of the crew on this project. The YMCA staff basically knew they wanted to highlight three of their members in the brochure, video and fundraising efforts. We discussed ways to do this and decided I would photograph the members on a white background, plus an environmental portrait.
My first portrait was of Elmo, a retired Baptist minister who had suffered a debilitating stroke about 3 years ago. Elmo had been unable to talk because of paralysis on one side of his body, but after spending time at the ML King YMCA Senior Citizen’s Center and playing dominos with the other members, he soon began to talk and communicate with the other domino players. I first photographed him in his Sunday best suit, then at the YMCA senior center. The YMCA used these photos on their 2013 fundraising marketing material and on large window-clings in their downtown OKC office.