This week is a new Q&A and Photo Challenge episode. My guest co-host, Mel Rolleri and I answer listener questions, give the names of the winners of the last challenge and announce a new one!Read More
Thanks to Fujifilm North America I just had the great pleasure to spend a few days documenting the work of Joshua Coombes, the founder of #DoSomethingForNothing, on the streets of New York City. It was an incredible experience and definitely the most important photographs I've ever taken.
Who is Joshua Coombes?
Josh is a young hairstylist from London who started giving free haircuts to homeless people during his time off, in an attempt to brighten up their day. The project, known as #DoSomethingForNothing, soon became his mission and he has been traveling to major cities around the world to touch lives, one person at a time.
Josh and I have known each other online ever since he started his project 2 years ago. We’ve been following each other’s work, determined that one day our paths would cross, and I would have the opportunity to tell his story through my lens. Thanks to the support of Fujifilm North America, who brought us together on the streets of New York City for 4 days last week, we finally made it happen!
We hit the ground running as soon as I landed on Tuesday afternoon. Josh had arrived from the U.K. a couple of days earlier. I couldn’t wait to meet Josh and start documenting his work. My X100F was loaded and ready to capture compassion and hope.
Over the following four days on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, we met people from all different backgrounds. Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. White or black, young or old, misfortune and adversity don’t discriminate.
Working with my Fujifilm X100F was the perfect choice for this project. The 23mm focal length allowed me to be physically close, while its small size and silent shutter made it unobtrusive and non intimidating.
Every subject agreed to be photographed, but I didn’t start shooting right away, and Josh didn’t start cutting hair immediately either. Our first role was to listen, wipe tears and give hugs. We were always rewarded by the brightest smiles in the end!
What’s next for Josh? He obviously found his calling. As he recently wrote on Instagram: “This isn’t charity, it’s connection. It’s keeping all doors open to listen to others and learn.” I want to do all I can to support him in his mission to bring smiles in our challenging world, one haircut at a time. By doing so and sharing his experience, he is influencing others to also Do Something For Nothing, whatever that may be.
As for me, this project was life changing. I’ve been wanting to work on a humanitarian project for quite a while, and this is the perfect fit. Josh and I work well as a team, and the images I collected were definitely the most important photographs I’ve ever shot.
We wish to keep working together whenever possible to document other stories in other cities, to raise awareness and share the love. We are planning to write an ebook #DoSomethingForNothing in NYC in the next few months to raise funds to help Josh keep doing what he does with so much passion. We also want to show the recent photo documentary in galleries.
Below are a few of the beautiful souls we met on the street of NYC last week. This is a sneak peek! More photographs with their stories will be included in the ebook. To be notified of its release, please sign up to my mailing list.
Your help is important!
If you are the curator of a gallery or can put us in contact with a gallery interested in showing the work, please get in touch! If you can help with typesetting the eBook or in any other way, please use this contact form as well.
Take a moment to write a comment below.
Here are some of the photographs I captured of #DoSomethingForNothing in NTC with my X100F:
Below are some of the before & after iPhone shot that Josh shares daily on Instagram:
Please, share this important conversation. Thank you!
Valérie & Josh.
My guest this week is Ralph Velasco, founder of PhotoEnrichment Adventures, as well as a travel photography instructor, author and international guide.Read More
My guest today is Alec Hosterman. He is a professor at Longwood University and an avid photographer. Alec was in Charlottesville during the recent attack which resulted in the tragic death of a young woman. He was there on a self assignment to practice his photo documentary skills and shares his experience on the show.Read More
This week Valerie is taking a little break. Her good friend Steve Brokaw interviews photographer and YouTuber Matt Day. Enjoy!Read More
This week on Hit The Streets my good friend Karen Hutton is back and together we answer listener questions about rituals to get in the zone, why our obsession with photography, socks and more!
This episode of Hit The Streets is brought to you by WHCC. I've trusted WHCC with all my printing needs for over 15 years and I couldn't be happier with their awesome service. Take a quick look at the video below of my visit at their lab when my exhibit stand outs were being produced.
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My YouTube video of the WHCC labs
Karen Hutton is a professional light bender and storyteller. That’s shorthand for her style of fine art landscape photography, and the fact that she’s also a voiceover artist, online show host, writer, speaker and teacher. She has over 2 million followers on social media; with over 9 billion views of her photographic work. Karen, her photography and voice has been featured at Google and on Stuck in Customs, TWiP, Macphun Software, Forbes.com, The Grid with Scott Kelby, Rick Sammon’s DPE Podcast. She lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. You can find her at Karenhutton.com.
Karen and Valerie answer the following questions sent by listeners:
Moshe Friedline: "Do you have any rituals that help you get in the zone when you start a street session? ...And more importantly, what are your favorite kind of socks for a long day on the streets?"
Mike Branch: "Hi Valerie: I know photography is a major passion in your life , but what do you think it is about photography that makes it such a magnificent obsession?"
Dave Therrien for 'Boston at noon'
Samples of street dogs from Valerie's collection
Today is a new Photo Faves segment and I asked Craig Whitehead, aka @SixStreetUnder to come on the show and share his favorite subjects, locations, gear, photography book, etc.
I am a Photographer from Cambridge in the UK. I started shooting street seriously a little over a year ago and have been shooting almost everyday since. I originally studied illustration but found I was spending more and more time with my camera. My favourite Camera I have ever owned is the x-pro2 I currently use along with my all time favourite lens the 56mm 1.2. I currently run workshops in london in my spare time and am working towards making photography my full time job.
Items discussed during the show
Photographs by Craig Whitehead below
The Through Our Eyes project puts cameras in the hands of the homeless and asks them to photograph their lives.Read More
In this episode Valerie talks about the Hit The Streets World Wide Photowalks and her upcoming books before answering a few listener questions.Read More
My guest today is Jimmy Lee from the UK. After losing his job, Jimmy decided to start making a difference in his community by using his camera as an effort to ‘do something for nothing’. Things led to another and a couple of exhibits and a few clients later, he is determined to make this photography gig his full time job!Read More