Photographer Perspective – Jacqueline Truong

As part of our Portrait for Pixels campaign, we are turning the lens, so to speak, on the photographers who have generously accepted our invitation to take part in this innovative fundraising campaign. In today’s interview, we speak with Jacqueline Truong of Los Angeles, California, US. 

Question 1: Tell us about yourself – how and why did you become a photographer?

I actually never saw myself as an artist growing up, but since I had to take a Fine Art requirement in high school, I selected photography and fell in love that year with it. Since then I have been actively photographing when I am not teaching. I love how I am able to capture fleeting moments in time. It’s amazing how differently everyone DOES SEE the world, and this is just my way of viewing it.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in “Portraits for Pixels” and what are you going to do for the campaign?

I actually worked on a Pixel Project earlier this year and am excited in seeing this “Portraits for Pixels”campaign come to life. I haven’t really thought it completely through, but most likely a substantial percentage will be donated to the campaign.

Question 3: Have you been involved in other campaigns to end violence against women? If so, tell us about it and why you decided to get involved. If not, why you have decided to get involved now?

When I was in college I was involved in a lot of campaigns. I really wanted to be a part of causes I felt strongly for. I came across The Pixel Project through a mutual friend and have admired the direction that this organization wants to go. It’s important to make a stand for something you believe in. Violence just needs to stop. It doesn’t help anyone, and just makes the world and the people and animals who live on it suffer from the aftermath. I have personal experience from friends, family, and myself what this form of violence can do.

Question 4: Violence against women is a sensitive, even taboo, issue in many cultures that is frequently shrouded by silence and denial. How do you think photographers and photography can help “break the silence”?

Photography is constantly seen everywhere we go. In movies, magazines, newspapers, books, ad campaigns. It’s such a versatile art form that has launched itself internationally for decades now.

What’s beautiful about documentary photography is that even as an art form, it can’t hide the truth and what you see is truly what you get. It’s a tough reality that no one wants to share, but in its own right, with the right photographer the images can send a strong message out to everyone that this is NOT some fabricated story and that the impact it creates could help bring the end to violence against women that much closer.

Question 5: What do you think would be the best way of encouraging more photographers to get on board the cause to end violence against women?

Photographers are inherently philanthropists. They love using their art form to help the greater good. They also like to collaborate with each other. Perhaps creating a thematic online show/gallery show that allows photographers to donate their image for the cause, and people can buy their edition image for a low cost price.

Question 6: Besides participating in campaigns such as “Portraits for Pixels”, how else do you think photographers can help stop violence against women?

Fine Art Photographers can actively offer specific images that would have a percentage of the proceeds go to their cause or a Portrait Photographer would offer a package that is exclusively for the cause. Anyone with their own website, can add a link/tab to the cause’s website. Even sporting an icon that represents the cause in their studio showing there are a proud sponsor or participant would be positive association with the organization.

10 Reasons Why Photographers Should Join the “Portraits for Pixels” campaign

Now that we have properly launched “Portraits for Pixels”, we hope to collaborate with as many professional photographers as possible to make this campaign a roaring success. Indeed, “Portraits for Pixels” is a campaign that exemplifies our special affinity with photography – given that world-class portrait photography is at the heart of our flagship campaign, The Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign, “Portraits for Pixels” is a natural fit as a supporting campaign.

“Portraits for Pixels” also puts into practice The Pixel Project’s core belief that anyone, anywhere in the world contribute their talents and skills the cause to end violence against women.

So if you are a photographer and just found out about “Portraits for Pixels” or are currently deciding whether you should join the campaign, we at The Pixel Project have put together a list of 10 reasons why you should get on board:

Reason 1: It’s a cause that impacts YOUR life. Violence against women (VAW) is not an isolated problem that only impacts the victim – it has consequences that affect the victim’s family and community ranging from health problems that affect a woman’s ability to be a mother, to millions of dollars and lost work hours faced by employers with staff facing violence. With 1 in 3 women across the world experiencing some form of gender-based violence in their lives, chances are, you already know somebody who faces domestic violence, was raped or sexually assaulted or even forced into marriage.

Reason 2: It’s ready-made for you! “Portraits for Pixels” is a no-frills specifically designed to enable photographers to make use their well-honed photography skills and studio/photography tools and equipment that they already own or have access to for raising funds.

Reason 3: Name your price. Apart from a US$10-per-portrait session donation minimum, you are free to set the prices for your “Portraits for Pixels” session as you see fit because we believe that  the pricing of the sessions should be up to the photographer.

Reason 4: Choose how much to donate. You can donate the US$10-per-portrait-session donation minimum to our campaign, or you can choose to donate more than that to us. As for the rest of the proceeds – you can either keep them to cover your costs, earn a bit of extra money, or you can even donate some of it to your local anti-VAW nonprofit of your choice. It’s your choice!

Reason 4: Earn some extra cash. We understand that photographers have to earn a living from their work and that many photographers earn in currencies that are weaker than the US Dollar. Therefore, we set US$10-per-portrait as the minimum contribution because we want this programme to be a genuinely accessible and win-win collaboration with photographers. The low donation minimum will ensure that photographers will also be able to cover the expenses for the special “Portraits for Pixels” sessions at the very least.

Reason 5: Flexibility rules! We understand how busy and in-demand photographers can be so we designed “Portraits for Pixels” to run for approximately 6 weeks from 8 August to 23 September 2011. You can hold your “Portraits for Pixels” sessions or offers at your convenience during this campaign period. You can participate as an individual photographer or as part of a group of photographers. It’s up to you!

Reason 6: Networking, networking, networking. “Portraits for Pixels” is a great way for you to bond with other photographers who share an interest and commitment to ending violence against women. If you do not wish to participate as an individual photographer, the campaign also gives you a framework to get your fellow photographers together to hold a special group charity photography session for the cause.

Reason 7: Boost your professional profile! Photographers who sign up to join “Portraits for Pixels” will have their profiles and work highlighted in several ways including: a dedicated online gallery page for their bio and selected portfolio; opportunities to either participate in an interview or to submit a YouTube PSA with you talking about why you support the campaign. For the full list of benefits, go here.

Reason 8: Positive Publicity by Proxy. In addition to all the great photographer profile boosting features mentioned in Reason 7, you’ll also benefit by association from our media outreach to photography magazines, e-zines, blogs and social media channels. As with all publicity efforts, we can’t guarantee that the media will pick up the news but we’ll do our darndest!

Reason 9: Easy-to-Share Publicity. As a largely online campaign, we make it easy for you to tell your clients, friends, family and fellow photographers about the campaign and your role in it. We have a Facebook page you can share at a click of a button, promo tweets being regularly tweeted out of our Twitter account which you can retweet, and our photographer’s registration pack also contains free-to-use blog badges, Facebook badges, Twitter avatars and computer wallpapers you can use to advertise your participation in the campaign.

 Reason 10: You know what you are donating to. Want to know where the funds you are raising are going to? We’ve worked with the two beneficiaries of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign – the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organisation – to put together a clear breakdown about how the funds raised will be used. Check it out here.