San Francisco // 2.16.17 - 2.19.17
San Francisco is one of my favorite cities I have ever visited. It feels a bit like NYC and LA had a baby. Like all of my favorite things of each city are smooshed together on this art drenched island. Everything, from it's grunge to self driving Ubers, is just so fascinating to me. I was lucky enough to be able to extend a work trip unrelated to "1IN700" into a long weekend of entry shoots. I have two moms to thank specifically for helping raise funds to help make this possible. Kelly Sayer and Stephanie Reed took it upon themselves to reach out to other mothers and set a goal of $1,000 to raise as a donation to help 1IN700 make San Francisco / Bay Area an official stop on the "1IN700" International Photo Project Tour. The mothers and I came together to schedule hour long sessions for two days for the families that wanted to participate. It was arguably the fastest leg of tour I have ever planned, with all of it coming together in less than a week. These families were are a true testament to what the cleft community and large support system is really all about. So again, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your donations, words of encouragement, and opportunity to show the world your beauty through my eyes.
All in all, the trip was a huge success. I did have a few hiccups along the way with our "Cozy and Affordable Studio in the heart of SF!!" AirBnb. So happy I had my co-pilot Taylor Cutler with me for that crazy part of the journey. Typically when the families raise money to help bring the project to their city, I will book an AirBnb with some of the funds (after communicating with the hosts exactly what I am doing). It's an easy way to be somewhere comfortable, contained, and spacious enough to snap some photos. I have never had a problem with the company before, but this time I was really bummed. The place was very different in the photos, the hallway to the apartment had exposed wood and pipes. Basically, it was a disaster. Panic. Panic for real. I couldn't bring children up here. There was no way. So after the initial shock of what was happening I got on the phone.
After speaking with AirBnb customer service things were being handled. My refund would come in a couple of days but the host was going to be contact...yada yada yada. They have never let me down in the past and I will definitely use them again, but not until I am done being mad at them (AirBnb).
THANKFULLY Lisa Cutler (Tay's mom, who is kind of like my mom too) was able to direct us to the Marriott in Union Square. They were happy to put us up. I had people meet me in the courtyard to talk and take photos and all of the staff just gave us space. Since it is just me and my camera and no fancy light set up, places seem to be really receptive to helping once they hear from me in person. I am not sure anyone at Marriott corporate will ever read this but THANK YOU for having such an amazing staff and always the best accommodations at a great price.
SF was full of incredible experiences. I am now able to say that I have fed a cleft affected puppy! Thanks to Kelly Sayer who spends some of her time fostering cleft affected puppies and provides assisted feedings, I was able to syringe feed baby Darla in that photo above! These dogs are often immediately euthanized because people fear starvation. If they are helped to feed for the first three weeks of their life, their chance of survival tremendously increases to have a normal healthy life. A life of a cleftie :*) It was an experience I am beyond grateful for and will hopefully be able to put into practice more after this tour is finished. Who knows? :)
If you are trying to raise money to help 1IN700 come to your city Kelly Sayer and Stephanie Reed have both offered their advice on how they did it. Feel free to find them on Facebook and shoot them a message. Thanks again ladies! You roooock!