Saturday, February 2, 2013

Awesome London

Well, as you may have seen in various ways over the past week I was very lucky to have been chosen to win a $1000 grant from Awesome London. I thought I would just kind of recap on my idea, what has happened so far and bring all the links together.

So, I was told a little over a month ago that Awesome was coming to London, I had seen the idea when I lived in Halifax last summer. I thought about the idea which had been floating around in my head since high school. I come from an area of Australia similar to London in that there are quite a few seniors homes and centres so I know what a vital part to the community they are. During my high school years we lived with my nan to care for because of her Alzheimer's. One day she came home very happy from her day out at the local seniors centre. I found out that she had just had a nice day as carers had just sat and painted her nails and chatted with her. In the days following, I saw that she was happier.

Around 2 weeks ago I was told that I had been selected and then the 'January's top 3 Awesome finalists announced' went up. Reading the other ideas, I thought how great they both were and that I would have voted for either of them myself. I started to get nervous.

The pitch night at Joe Kools came around and even after a very restless night sleep and my lack of public speaking in front of crowds (I'd much rather be hiding behind my camera) I was told I did a good job and that I didn't look nervous, I think seeing a picture of Nan up on the big screen really helped with that. I also chatted to Sean from London Community news and enjoyed seeing his article the next day!

This was the main part of my pitch-

My project would be to go to different seniors homes and centres (once gaining permission of course) and collaborate with a hair/makeup artist to primp the seniors. This might be something as simple as painting nails, to having hair styled or even just asking them to wear that outfit that makes them feel special on the day that we were going to be visiting. By chatting to them about whatever they feel I should know about them, or this world we live in, I’d hope to make a connection to each person I was photographing, which would help to bring out their unique personality in the portrait. I would then use my photography skills to capture a nice portrait of them. I think it goes without saying that their family would enjoy having this portrait of them as much or even more as the person we were photographing. 


There are more photos from the pitch night on my facebook page

After chatting to a few people, It came to the announcement time and I was incredibly happy when my name was called! I was handed the paper bag and the Awesome sign which will get passed between each winner. I was pretty much surrounded by people offering their business cars to help me achieve my idea, among some of those we Chris of Uber Cool stuff (an awesome store downtown) who is going to chat to some of his contacts about getting a deal on printing and Adam of Simalam Media who offered his knowledge of all things web. I found out that this city runs on Twitter and also that Ed Jackman (@edjackman) who was the first presenter also got funding for his idea from people in the audience!

The next morning I joined Katie (@kv_designs) on Daytime London, a Rogers TV show and after stuttering my way through the first half of the interview was able to finally get out what I was doing etc. The following morning, continuing in my 15 minutes of fame, I joined Michelle (@ml_baldwin) on CBC Ontario Morning to chat about the idea. On the Awesome foundation website this was posted, I was told there was something in the Londoner newspaper (which I'm still to get my hands on) and Most recently, Chris Moss (@christine_moss)spoke to Rogers Tv about Awesome London and my project.

So, where to now? Hopefully sometime this week I will be meeting up with some of the trustees from Awesome London for some guidance and working out the logistics of asking for permission to not only go in and take the photos, but also to use the photos. Originally I had thought of keeping this just on a smaller scale and just giving the portraits to the seniors and their families but now with all the interest, I feel like we have to make it more awesome! Ideas have ranged from a blog, weekly newspaper article, to a book. Once that is all planned and I've asked and gained permission from a few of the seniors homes I'll be looking for volunteers to help make it happen- I already have Amy of Ireezy hair design and Deanna of Deanna Ronson Style and Image consulting  volunteering for a shoot each but will need more so if you know of anyone who would be interested, please get them to contact me.

If you have an Awesome idea you should apply!

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