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Charitable Projects

Show Thanks, Give Hope – Los Angeles Portrait Photographer

Hi all!  This is my first post after our vacation.

I could be sharing tons of beautiful images from the trip.  In fact, I just finished making a 2013 calendar with a few “hand-picked” images.  However, the day before Thanksgiving, I would like to share a story.

We were in Big Sur, California (yes, it’s kind of out-of-character for us to stay in the US for vacation, and I will explain in a separate post, if you really want to know why).  I’ve learned about the Bixby Bridge and seen it in images and videos.  In fact, it’s one of the videos with Bixby Bridge basking in the golden sunset that raised my interest in traveling the area.

As we drove along the coast, the photographer in me was looking for various angles to present “the bridge”, making stops constantly.  When we pulled into this one vista area, a colorfully decorated van caught my eyes – oh yeah, I’m a person of colors and my eyes get attracted by them.  First a cheerful lady, then the wheel chair and a gentleman rolled out of the car door.

The curious cat in me would not let me pass the opportunity to learn their stories.  So, it starts with someting like “You must be Steve…”.  Turns out Steve has been diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.  The couple was from Georgia and traveling the West.  They’d been on the road for a week or so and was planning on getting back home for Thanksgiving.

Knowing the devastating impact of ALS on the patients and their loved ones, I was touched by the cheerfulness of the couple and offered to take a picture for them.  I wanted them to have a document of this memory at a beautiful place that they’ve spent time together.  At that moment, I knew I wanted to write about them and proceeded to get permission to take a photograph of them with my camera.

As I gave instructions to the location and the angle, the wheel chair that Steve was in (and operated by him) was moving faster than I could catch up with.  Impressive agility, Steve! 🙂

They are the perfect models for my photography!  The couple was grinning from ear to ear and did not need any instructions for smiling.  🙂
©Jean (Jiaying) Huang
We then purchased shirts from them to help raise awareness to ALS.  So the next time you see me sport a pink t-shirt with big beard on it (neither pink, nor beard is my thing under normal circumstances :-)), you’ll know it’s Steve on the shirt.

Before heading on with our trip, I had to ask the lady’s name.  You know what, her name is Hope.  Hope for Steve, what a good match!

Now, here’s my ask for all my good-hearted friends out there.  I know you’ve saved up for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Maybe a small portion can go to help Hope and Steve?  Maybe as you are sitting around dinner table with your loved ones tomorrow, you could share this post/their story and encourage them to help out as well?  On a day that we count our blessings, giving to others will complete the circle.

A little more tid bits about Hope and Steve (click here to learn more of their stories):
– Hope and Steve got married after Steve was diagnosed with ALS.
– Hope recently quit her job since leaving Steve at home to take care of himself when she had to travel for work was too painful for her.
– One admirable quality of the couple – they do not let the difficulties in life stop them from living their lives.

So, please, give hope this Thanksgiving by clicking on this van below:

©Jean (Jiaying) Huang 

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Sneak Peek View of a 6-Month Fresh Baby – Los Angeles Children’s Photographer

Decision, decision, decision…  How can I choose just one image to “reveal” to the anxious grandma and family?  Baby D2 is so cute and he gave me not one, not two, but a myriad of baby expressions that I love to capture in my photo sessions with children.

While you will for sure get to know baby D2 more in a later post, this image will hopefully “quench the thirst”.  However, I won’t be surprised if it does the opposite and raise your appetite as a friend always wants to “eat” my cute portrait subjects.  Good thing she’s all the way in Spain.  Right, Vanessa? 😉

©Jean (Jiaying) Huang


Let’s Come Together to Help All that are Impacted by the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami – Los Angeles Photographer

March 11, 2011 evening, I was doing my normal online checking before bedtime (you know what I mean, you social media addicts), a post came in.  Japan was hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a Tsunami.  The next hour, I was glued to the TV screen, trying to find out every bit of what the people in the area had to deal with.

It may just be me.  It feels that we have seen more than our fair share of the natural catastrophe in the last year or so.  

  • The Haiti earthquake in January 2010 that led to a death toll of 230,000 and 3 million people were affected. 
  • Weeks later, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit south-central Chile on February 27. The massive temblor changed the country’s landscape by raising the ground by more than 8 feet near the coast and sinking land farther inward.  
  • The Iceland volcanic eruption in March and April 2010 disrupted air traffic across the whole of Northern Europe, thus stranding many passengers and the aviation losses amounted to around millions of dollars due to the cancellation of the flights. 
  • Just as we thought we’ve had enough earthquakes in a year, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake ruptured in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I have to admit that when these disasters happen in another part of the world, I get shocked at the news, follow it and talk about it for a while, then go back to my “normal” life.  When the same area in Japan was hit again with a magnitude 7 earthquake and a Tsunami scare on April 7, it occurred to me that (1) things will take a long while before they go back to “normal” for those that are impacted by this disaster and for some, things will never be back to normal; (2) we all have a chance to face the aftermath of losing the comfort of home and/or our loved ones to a natural disaster.

We don’t plan for these disasters and I hope that no one ever will have the need to.  But when a catastrophe struck, a small token of gesture, such as a warm hand, may make a world of difference to them.  Look at beforeand after images that Stack Jones put together.  What a peaceful and happy life people were leading not long before this devastating day.

I can never bring their houses back.  I can never bring their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers or pets back.  And I can never bring their lost memories in the photo albums or toys from childhood back.  But I can do small things, small things that when acted upon by many of us, can be meaningful to those that, maybe one day, we will know exactly how much pain they feel when we are in their shoes.

I have donated two pieces of my photographic work to an online auction put together by Artists for Japan.  They are listed below for your convenience.  Click on the image to go directly to the bidding page.  

Artist: Jean (Jiaying) Huang
Title: Serenity in the Japanese Garden (1)
Medium: Color print on Kodak Endura professional photo paper; lustre coating applied for UV protection (watermark will not be in the final product; frame not included)
Size: 6″ X 18″ 
Shipping: $6 in the US; international shipping to be quoted.

Starting bid: $30.00 (Bid has started.  Please click on the image to bid.)
Retail: $100

Artist: Jean (Jiaying) Huang
Title: Spring in the Japanese Garden 
Medium: Color print on Giclée Canvas; satin laminate applied for protection and easy cleaning (watermark will not be in the final product;  frame not included)
Size: 8″ X 12″ 
Shipping: $6 in the US; international shipping to be quoted.

Starting bid: $50.00 (Bid has started.  Please click on the image to bid.)
Retail: $160

Bidding ends on May 2 (see Facebook page of Artists for Japan for details).  All proceeds from the bidding will go to Red Cross in their relief efforts for the Japan earthquake/Tsunami disaster.  

Just remember, in a helpless situation, a warm hand can mean a world of difference.  Let’s gather to do something meaningful.  As I always said, “together, we are stronger”.