As Simple as a Conversation: #DoSomethingForNothing Today

Joshua Coombes and Valérie Jardin are transforming the world through what may be the simplest and most graceful humanitarian movement on earth — one person, one conversation and one photograph at a time.

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Coombes, a British hairdresser, teamed up with Jardin, a renowned street photographer in early September 2017 on the Streets of New York City to provide free haircuts to people living on the streets and document the experience through photographs and stories. The pair recently published an eBook about their partnership. The book’s proceeds help Coombes continue his work around the world. The download is available here: 

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But it’s not about haircuts. Or homelessness.

Coombes says his movement, #DoSomethingForNothing, is ultimately about making time in a world full of distractions to notice the people around us. To be a beacon of hope in the present moment.

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“Even if you can’t give back realistically, you can still give ten minutes of your day to talk to someone,” Coombes says. “Your ‘do something for nothing’ might be different than mine. It might not be working with the homeless. It’s about using your skills or time to make others smile in your community. We have to use something as powerful as social media for good where we can. You can change things. It starts small, then builds.”

Coombes first got the idea for #DoSomethingForNothing when he was chatting with a young homeless man on the street in London.

“It just came about one day,” he says.

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He’d chatted with the man before, but this time, as they talked, Coombes noticed his ragged, matted hair and thought a haircut might lift his spirits. Coombes had his haircutting supplies with him, so he asked the man if he’d like a trim and got to work there right on the spot.

That moment sparked the idea that led to an incredible and international journey. Since then, Coombes, along with his scissors and his message, have traveled and trimmed around the globe, connecting with people on the streets, from London and Paris to Mexico City and New York.

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During their time NYC, Jardin, an official Fujifilm X-Photographer, documented the interactions between the hairdresser and his impromptu clients with her Fuji X100F while Coombes worked his magic, smiles and conversation spilling out onto the streets like sunshine. She also utilized a Fujifilm Instax mini printer connected via WIFI with a cell phone to give people instant photos of themselves sporting their new hair styles. The New York City project was made possible by Fujifilm North America Corporation, which brought the pair together.

Working with Coombes, Jardin says, was emotional, exhilarating and transformational.

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“This has changed my life. Everything else I’ve ever done with my camera, just doesn’t measure up to this experience. It’s the ultimate storytelling project. We’re a team and it just feels so good. We’re in such dark times and it gives me hope.”

What’s next? Jardin and Coombes are busy promoting the eBook and plan to continue working together wherever possible. A photography exhibition may also be in the works.

Follow the project on social media, including Instagram, through the #DoSomethingForNothing hashtag and via the following links:

**All photographs copyright Valérie Jardin 2017

Into the woods

This photo is from this afternoon’s walk at Tryon Creek State Natural Area in Portland, Oregon, USA. I’m so lucky to have had this place in my life since forever. I still have my “Bluebirds” club notebook in which we made bird and plant sketches. At Tryon, we learned about forest ecosystems and bird habitat when my elementary school troupe visited the park during field trips. It’s basically my back yard now because I live in an apartment nearby & it’s close enough that I can drop by for a trail run or a photo walk or even just stand in a sunbeam or a rainshower & watch the leaves flutter for a few minutes. It never needs mowing. It always gives me peace. Tryon is the only Oregon State Park located within a major metropolitan area. Thanks to conservation efforts, salmon and even lamprey eels are back in Tryon Creek.

The park was saved from destruction thanks to a group of local women who began raising money on the first Earth Day in 1970 to ensure its protection.

Thank you, ladies. I pulled some ivy from the trunks of those beautiful old trees today — and am ever grateful for every leaf, branch, needle and breath of clean air.

Celebate birth of Friends of Tryon Creek on first Earth Day by volunteering on Earth Day

SOUTHWEST PORTLAND — On the first Earth Day in 1970, 310 women from Southwest Portland and Lake Oswego went door-to-door, raising $27,000 to save Tryon Creek Canyon from development. “It was a kitchen counter effort,” says Lucille (Lu) Beck on preservation of Tryon canyon. “It was led by women.”

A portal through which others can dream: Photography by Andrea Giandomenico

It was a pleasure to write about Italian photographer Andrea Giandomenico’s work recently for Street Photography Magazine. The moment I saw his striking images from rural Italy, I asked him for permission to propose a feature. The piece explores a different and more difficult type of street photography and the importance of capturing the spirit of a place and its people without being a disruptive force in the process.

Andrea Giandomenico’s Le Marche

Le Marche, the third region, along with Tuscany and Umbria, that makes up central Italy, is a photographer’s dream – known for some of Italy’s most incredible wildlife and landscapes. It is also a region defined by humble and hardworking farmers who make a living from the land and help feed their communities and the world.

To my delight and surprise, Andrea and the article were also featured recently by Italian media!

Congrats, Andrea. Special thanks to Radio Linea program directors David Romano and Marco Adami. It was a pleasure to write about Andrea’s work & I’m thrilled to share his continued to success as an artist! See more of his photography here:

LensCulture Exposure Awards deadline approaching: Free entry for a single image

LensCulture, an international contemporary photography portal and magazine is now taking entries for its 2018 Exposure Awards. The deadline is December 19, 2017. Learn more about the entry rules, jurors and entry specifics here:

LensCulture Exposure Awards 2018

Deadline: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 6 Winners & 8 Jurors’ picks 25 Finalists Editors’ Picks** Every Entrant $22,000 in Grant Awards Published in The Best of LensCulture, Volume 2 LensCulture Network Membership Massive Exposure to our Global Audience of 2.8 Million Benefits for all who enter 1st Place: $50002nd Place: $25003rd Place: $1500 Single Image Award Winners 1st Place: $25002nd Place: $15003rd Place: $1000 25 Finalists will be selected.



And the winners are…

It was truly an honor to be part of this great international event and meet award winning photographers from around the world again this year in Siena, Italy at the Siena International Photography Awards ceremony & festival. Congrats to all of the winners and kudos to the event organizers, including Luca Venturi and his team, as well as Master of Ceremonies Luca Bracali and event photographer Ernesto Mangone. Bravo!

20 powerful, award-winning photos that will make you fall in love with the world

Every year, the Siena International Photo Awards brings together the best photographers from around the world to share their perspectives of some of the most beautiful, striking places on Earth. The winner receives €1,500 (about $1,750) worth of photography equipment and the esteemed Pangea Prize.

Gallery | SIPAContest | Siena International Photography Awards

Description: This photograph harkens back to a time when the USA had braided streams and plenty of space for the Sand Hill Crane migration. Now, only a small area of the Platte River in Nebraska can accommodate all of them. Volunteers at the Crane Trust counted 413,000 Sandhill Cranes on this evening…

Featured Photo: Luca Bracali with 2017 Photograph of the Year award recipient Randy Olson.

Siena bound

I got into Florence, Italy very late last night & arrived at my room at Hotel Angelica near midnight. It turns out the lovely woman who checked me in after hours was Angelica herself. 

This morning, after two delicious cappuccinos & a long walk, she sent me off to the train station (conveniently right around the corner) with hugs & kisses. Now that’s service!  She told me I look Italian & wished me a good journey. With a name like Gina Marie, I’ve always thought I should be! Maybe Angelica’s blessing makes it so. She is pictured at left with her son. 

And here I am – happy to be back in Italy & happily licking cappuccino foam from my lips.

Next stop: Siena!

hotel angelica firenze

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Hello, Amsterdam

8-hour layover. Luggage in a locker. Found the train. Hopefully I’ll be able to find my luggage again later!

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