Guys, I wasn’t prepared for this. I wasn’t ready to read through dozens of your entries, see all the hard work and passion you put into your projects, and then have to make a decision as to which ones were the best. Because really, they were ALL amazing. I mean that. Each and every entry would make a fascinating documentary project that I would love to see. So a huge thank you to everyone who entered!
But we did have to narrow it down, and after much discussion, we’re ready to announce the three finalists. Each one did a fantastic job of presenting a focused idea, and bringing a lot of heart and energy.
Now it’s up to you. Read through the three finalist projects, and then vote for the one you’d most like to see at the bottom of this post. The winner of this vote will receive the $500 scholarship to help make their project a reality.
And to everyone who entered, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to share your idea with us. We sincerely hope you’ll continue working towards making it happen. We’d love to hear your story!
Without further ado, the finalists:
1. The Daily LIfe of a Nepalese Orphanage
by Seth Alwin
On November 1st of this year, I am leaving for India and Nepal to start a six week volunteer trip at an orphanage located on the north outskirts of Kathmandu. I plan to document the daily life of the children in the home. Those in the developed world know there are countless children around the world living in orphanages, but we don’t often see how they live.
On November 1st of this year, I am leaving for India and Nepal to start a six week volunteer trip. During my time there, I will be living and working with the children of Support the Children Nepal, an orphanage located on the north outskirts of Kathmandu.
For this trip, I plan to document the daily life of the children in the home. Those in the developed world know there are countless children around the world living in orphanages, but we don’t often see how they live. My goal is to create a book upon my return doing just that. It feel it’s an important issue to share, and one more people can get involved with for not much effort. It changed the way I look at my life, and helped me tackle the questions we all ask ourselves: what’s important, how should be live our lives, what kind of person do I want to continue to grow into.
The ultimate goal for my project? To inspire even one person to make a similar trip, giving a small portion of their time to making the lives of those less fortunate a little bit sweeter.
2. Leta Andrews: The Winningest High School Basketball Coach
by Buffy Goodman
Leta Andrews is a girls high school basketball coach in Texas. She is 75 years old, and the winningest coach in sports history. I would like to fly back to Texas this spring as Coach Andrew’s team the Granbury Lady Pirates heads into the championship season again.
Last year, I met someone incredible. I only got to photograph her for 48 hours, but spending time with her changed me so much so that I got some advice she gave me tattooed on my arm so that I’d never forget meeting her. “Work hard, and be nice to people. ”
Leta Andrews is a girls high school basketball coach in Texas. She is 75 years old, and the winningest coach in sports history. I followed her life for 48 hours as she guided her young ladies to yet another win.
Coach Andrews cares so much about these girls, and their futures, spending her day phoning colleges to talk them up, trying to get them scholarships. She is utterly dedicated to the success of these young women, and it’s amazing.
I would like to fly back to texas this spring as Coach Andrew’s team the Granbury Lady Pirates heads into the championship season again. I’d like more time, maybe 2 or 3 weeks, to capture this incredibly inspirational lady in more detail.
3. Guiding Eyes: The Process of Training Guide Dogs
by Jeff Borkowski
Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a nonprofit founded in 1954 to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired men and women by providing them the freedom to travel safely, thereby assuring greater independence, dignity, and expanded horizons of opportunity. I think it would be fascinating to document the story of this process and the facilities and people that make it possible.
For the last five years I have been volunteering for the Eastern Massachusetts Puppy Raising Region of the Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1954 to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired men and women by providing them the freedom to travel safely, thereby assuring greater independence, dignity, and expanded horizons of opportunity. Guiding Eyes is one of the foremost guide dogs schools in the world and provides superbly bred dogs, professional training, and life-long follow-up support services to those in need completely free of charge.
My wife and I quickly fell in love with the organization, mission, people, and of course the pups. As volunteer puppy raisers, we receive pups from Guiding Eyes at ~8 weeks of age and work with them for ~14 months before returning them to Guiding Eyes for a final phase of training. I would love to document the lifecycle of pups before we receive them and after they return to Guiding Eyes – the part we don’t see as volunteer puppy raisers.
Guiding Eyes has two incredible facilities – Training Headquarters and the Canine Development Center (CDC) – which serve as the hub for all puppy raising regions. Both are based in New York. The CDC is home to Guiding Eyes’ world-renowned breeding program and is where life for the puppies begins. More than five hundred puppies are born each year in the whelping kennels and CDC staff and volunteers begin working with pups almost immediately.
A variety of early socialization and enrichment experiences prepare pups to go out “on program” with volunteer raiser families spread throughout 36 regions. An incredible amount of work and testing is done with the pups before volunteers receive them at ~ 8 weeks to ensure their greatest possible chance at success.
I think it would be fascinating to document the story of this process and the facilities and people that make it possible. Similarly, Training Headquarters and the Yorktown campus house the Training School Kennels and student housing. Pups return to the Training School at ~16 months where they’ll live, train, play, and relax with 175 of their closest friends for 6 to 10 months. And every month, new students arrive for an intensive 26 day residential training program with their new guides. Training Headquarters is fuelled by a small but incredibly specialized and efficient group of staff and volunteers that perform miracles. The bookend of a fascinating story to document.
Vote Now Here!!!!!!!!
Voting Rules: Voting closes on October 18, 2013 at 11:59 Pacific Time. One vote per person, please! We reserve the right to close the voting if it appears as though the system is being manipulated. Thanks!
Which Project Would You Most Like To See? Total Voters: 1,468
Which Project Would You Most Like To See?
Total Voters: 1,468
Once again, thank you to everyone who entered, and everyone who votes!
Rob + Lauren :)
P.S. Want to see just how we made our own documentary photography project happen? Check out How We Did It: Lobster Island.