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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for April, 2012

Partners for Change Evolves, Thank You Kiva

Posted by Josie | April 26th, 2012 | Filed under Partners for Change, Partnerships, Positive Change, Who We Are

kiva

For the first time in nearly four years, we’re expanding our Partners for Change program. Beginning on April 30th, we will launch a rotating partnership which will allow us to have relationships with more NGOs throughout the year. To accomplish this, four of our Partners for Change will remain constant, while our fifth Partner will rotate about twice a year.

Shifting this program means we must part ways with Kiva, one of our dedicated Partners working toward positive change. Kiva was one of our original Partners for Change when we launched our giving program back in 2006. Since Kiva’s founding in 2005, 754,040 lenders from 219 countries have loaned over $305 million to people in 59 different countries.  Impressive.

We’d like to acknowledge them for their many accomplishments and thank them for inspiring us over the last six years. Want to be inspired too?  Check out a few of these facts and stats about Kiva, and learn more about the Kiva Fellows or Kiva’s Green Loans.

April 30th will mark the last day customers can direct 2% of their purchase to Kiva. While this day marks the official end of our partnership with Kiva, their passion for creating positive change will remain a permanent inspiration for all of us here at Nau.

Deserted in Utah

Posted by leighann | April 20th, 2012 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Who We Are

You have to have a rig like that to get to a place like this. You know, that place? That place where depth, time and geology is laid open like no other landscape; where high plateaus, alpine peaks and deep river canyons conjoin; where, in a world of 7 billion people, it still remains relatively isolated and unscathed. For Mark, our GM, that place is somewhere in Utah, along the White Rim Trail and the San Rafael Swell.

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Aperture: Becoming Invisible

Posted by leighann | April 10th, 2012 | Filed under Partners for Change, Partnerships, Positive Change
Toni Greaves Burqa

Toni Greaves, award-winning documentary photographer, unveiled in Afghanistan (Photo by M. Ashraf Wahidi)

We’re not sure what’s more impressive: her list of accolades or the stunning beauty of her work.  In just three short years since being selected as one of PDN magazine’s “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch,” our good friend and documentary photographer, Toni Greaves has graced the pages of TIME magazine, The New York Times, Communication Arts, The FADER, and Marie Clare (to name a few).

She has traveled to Paraguay and rural Nepal as part of projects for Outside magazine and The Gates Foundation. Most recently, she returned from Afghanistan where she photographed for an organization dear to us—Mercy Corps, one of our Partners for Change. We were lucky enough to sit down with the award-winning photog to talk about the art of becoming invisible and what it’s like to shoot behind a burqa.

OTG: You’ve been shooting professionally for a little less than four years and you’ve already won numerous awards and have been published in an impressive list of publications.
Toni: Yeah, I feel very blessed. But I have a 15-year background in art direction, design, and creative direction, so I understood SEEING before I was professionally trained in photography. And I was always doing it as a hobby. But there came a point when I realized that I wanted to make it everything I was doing. So I made some major life changes and personal sacrifices to go back to school. I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. And I feel very lucky it’s working out.

Can you give us some insight into some of the projects you’ve enjoyed the most?
I have a long term project called Radical Love that spans the course of three years, which is about a community of cloistered nuns. I have spent a lot of time with these women, being in their monastery, being around their lives, and I love it. One of the great things about documentary photography is getting to experience different worlds.

Radical Love

From Radical Love: The Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey are a Roman Catholic cloistered monastic community. In this photo, the youngest nuns enjoy playing basketball during their half hour recreation period. (Photo by Toni Greaves)

So when you’re on assignment, do you have an idea of what you want to see behind the camera or do you let things organically unfold?
The thing about documentary photography is that you never know exactly what’s going to happen and you can’t plan anything. That’s one of the things I love about it—this dance of figuring it out while it happens. There is a kind of magic of getting into the moment of everything…of developing relationships with people you engage with and being able to help them feel comfortable. Because their level of comfort, as well as yours affects the quality of images that you take.

Do you ever coerce your story?
Here’s the thing, in your job as a writer, you’re asking questions right? And the simple act of asking questions, you’re helping to initiate something that helps guide and direct….

Exactly. Like leading the witness.
But in documentary photography, you can’t do that. I get to be aware and observant of everything that is around me, and my job is to take all that in and process it, in order to be in those situations when they happen. Of course, there are different approaches, but from my background and training, if you start influencing things, you’ll lose your credibility and honesty in what you’re doing and you’ll immediately be dismissed.

But you have to make people feel comfortable with your presence, so there has to be some level of influence.
That’s true. But in the same way if you, as a writer, were sitting there watching somebody and taking notes, they are aware of you sitting there, so to a degree that will changes things. However, I’ve also had clients tell me I become “invisible” over time.

Dikha Village, Doti District, Nepal // August 2009 -- An aid worker examines Maheshwori and determines that her unborn baby is also in a breech position. Because of the dangers associated with such a delivery, the aid worker makes a case to the village elders that a skilled birth attendant should be brought in to assist with the birth, rather than relying on an untrained traditional birth attendant. Nepal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Each year, more than 6,000 women die during childbirth. Most of them give birth at home, without the help of a skilled or even a trained attendant.(Photo by Toni Greaves/Getty Images)

From Birth in Rural Nepal: An aid worker examines Maheshwori and determines that her unborn baby is breech. Each year in Nepal more than 6,000 women die during childbirth. (Photo by Toni Greaves/Getty Images)

So there’s got to be this sweet spot in documentary photography where you’re constantly trying to capture the moment, but also have the perfect eye. Obviously, you can’t set up your shot.
No you can’t. So it all comes from your training and background and they way that you SEE.  In studying documentary photography you learn to SEE differently. And when you’ve been doing it long enough, it becomes a part of you. Recently, I photographed a friend giving birth. Since I’m close to her, I noticed when sorting through the images, that I had removed myself from the photographer role at times and the images weren’t as strong in those moments. So there’s a balance: you have to be comfortable with people, but you still have to maintain a level of disconnection in a way that you are more active in your SEEING.

So let’s switch gears. You just returned from Afghanistan where you were on assignment with Mercy Corps. How as your trip?
It was one of the most interesting trips I’ve been on. Fascinating, actually.

Did they give you a burqa?
Yes, they did for security reasons. But I always respect cultural norms when I travel. I was in full head scarf, starting from the airport, and only took it off in my room. Whenever we would leave, I would be covered in a burqa. If not, I could put their projects at risk if anyone saw me and my photography gear.

So what exactly where you doing?
I was photographing a women’s and girl’s education program called INVEST. They teach computers, embroidery, sewing, and English. It’s an incredible program that is changing the lives of these girls and also the women who teach there. I interviewed five women who were teachers in this program. In fact, Mercy Corps just put together a multimedia piece of my work that is now live on their website.

A woman takes a tailoring classes in Mercy Corps INVEST program, Afghanistan, to learn how to design and sew garments. (Photo by Toni Greaves)

A woman takes a tailoring class in Mercy Corps' INVEST program in Afghanistan to learn how to design and sew garments. (Photo by Toni Greaves for Mercy Corps)

You know, most of us only experience Afghanistan through the media as this kind of vapid, hopeless, almost apocalyptic place. What was your experience?
It’s mind boggling to learn about what Afghanistan was like in the 1950’s. It was this beautiful, tourist destination. Then Kabul was severely bombed from the late 70’s. But there’s a sense, with the youth that I was around, that there is potential for something for the future. Nobody wanted to talk about anything being bad. Maybe because there is danger in talking about what is going on or maybe it’s just a cultural norm. But they were very happy and excited about school, about what is to come.

I guess you just never know how a society might react under dire circumstances, eh?
If you’re put in the worst situation, you have two choices: you can give up or have hope. Which one would you choose? These are human beings living in this place of war. And they are choosing to have hope in the midst of often very difficult situations.  It’s an incredible demonstration of the strength of the human spirit.

To view more of Toni’s work, visit her website at www.tonigreaves.com.

Printemps: A snapshot of our break

Posted by leighann | April 9th, 2012 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Who We Are

Just in case you were wondering why things have been a little quiet around here….

We experienced our first 70 degree day of the year yesterday punctuating a brilliant end to our record-breaking deluge in March (that’s right, nearly eight inches in 31 days). Luckily, most of us were able to escape the sogginess for a much-needed break from our northwest spring. Here’s a few photos of our travels, near and far.

JosieJosie “claims” she was sworn to secrecy (by a friend of a friend) never to divulge the whereabouts of this tourist-free, utopian Mexican paradise. That’s alright, we’ll find out soon enough. A little beer, some peach schnapps….we’ll get her talking.

Sarah

That’s Sarah, the Goat Whisperer, down in Arizona, far from the soggy northwest.

LeighLeigh’s happy feet somewhere south of the panhandle, after she was unexpectedly sidelined in Dallas (for two days) by last week’s tornadoes.

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Brett’s mini road trip through Eastern Oregon: fossil beds, lots of wide open spaces and cattle farms. Yeeehaw.

SusanDear god (or whomever you worship): Thank you for the epic surf today.  Love, Susan

TysonWhile most of us were off recreating, Tyson was building this impressive bee house. Time from start to finish: 12 hours.

BryBry, exploring a new part of town. (Also, a big congrats to Bry for moving into her new abode last week).

PeterWe haven’t seen Peter in the office yet today, although he did send us this photo. Location: somewhere on the Oregon coast.

photo-1Me: enjoying the first 70 degree day of 2012 at the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia Rivers.