Earlier this month, a troubled human smashed my car window and stole about $6000 USD worth of camera equipment, as well as my passports. It's been quite the emotional, exhausting, and slightly traumatic experience. I had never been robbed like that prior. Doing much better now, on all fronts except the financial loss.
Silver lining: I wasn't harmed and all the data on the memory cards - wedding photos from the day before, at that - had been backed up. Phew. This fundraiser will help me recovery the gear steadily in the coming months while I utilize a set of loaner cameras and lenses (huge thanks to Nikon and a friend) to keep shooting for paid gigs as well as pro-bono documentation and visual storytelling projects domestically and internationally for the next few months.
Before I dig into the plan in some more detail, here's an excellent update/plot twist - both the stolen passports have, miraculously, been mailed back to my parents' home by the US Postal Service with only a note stating that the article "has been found damaged and/or loose in the mail."
A good number of you reading this likely would have also read my letter to the thief (yes, I did text it to him) (if you haven't read it yet, may I recommend that you do so). Could he/they actually have an ounce of human heart and turned them in? Or could it be that he/they realized later that the passports were part of the stolen goods, deemed them worthless, and simply tossed them somewhere, while another good samaritan picked up and turned them in? A mystery we may never find out...
Here's what's been happening - my friend Jill, who works for Nikon as the regional Pacific Northwest (PNW) representative, read about the incident and reached out to me immediately. She said she could get me some loaner Nikon gear to keep shooting while I recuperate physically, mentally, and financially. Not long after, she proactively told her boss who I am and what types of projects I typically cover, and asked if I could borrow the set for a longer period of time AND travel abroad with them. Her boss said yes! This is pretty huge in helping buy some time.
Also, 2 other friends - Brandon from Los Angeles and Luke from Atlanta - messaged me within days and offered to send their unused/setting-in-the-closet Canon DSLRs and lenses to me. Incredible! So now, strangely, I am rocking both Nikon + Canon (I was Sony + Canon before), and my brain feels like it's playing Sudoku in adapting to new menus, button layouts, ergonomics, lens selections, etc. - though not at all complaining! 😉
In the past 3 weeks, I have successfully re-applied for and received a new passport (because who could have thought they would return?!), fixed the broken window, sold my remaining Sony + Canon gear, and have begun re-investing towards a fresh, primarily Nikon-oriented setup. The mental-emotional-spiritual support I have received from friends-family-community near and far have helped tremendously, but truth be told, the financial hit hurts pretty darn hard. The main Sony camera was the largest single-item investment I've ever made in my little business, and that happened only 3-4 weeks prior to the theft. I've regardless been slightly reluctant in getting a GoFundMe going, but with all the upcoming travels and volunteering coming up, having additional financial support to pave the way for a full kit recovery would be massive. Thanks to several of you asking me directly to set one up, here we are!
Here is the breakdown of what were stolen:
I can't quite spell out exactly what and how much all the replacement gear will be yet, so I've set a humble amount of $3500 as my starting goal here on GoFundMe.
Here's my thinking process - I receive a sweet $300 per month from 45 contributing patron on patreon, and feel great about having that cushion every month as I continue to seek paid work. I would like folks to consider the idea of recurring support (it goes SO far beyond the $2/4/8/16/etc. per month), while also point to the fact that I would be HUGELY delighted to have you browse and order a print or two for your home and/or another loved one through the still-unofficially-announced prints shop right on my website(!). Say WHAT? That's right - I've delayed the announcement for some time, but believe that now is the moment. #subtledreamPrints is LIVE and let it be known that right here right now if you reside in (or wish to ship to a friend in) the states or Canada, photographic prints as small as 4x6" up to 24x36" or even larger panorama sizes can be ordered right off - you guessed it - subtledream.com!
Bottomline: I would like you to get something in return on top of knowing that you're (really, truly) helping me out here.
After all those words, here are the 3 ways to contribute:
^ Some recent prints and framings for clients/friends! 😀
PS: having community support has been by far the greatest external source I could draw strength and motivation from. You guys know who you all are - big, immense love and gratitude to you.