Recently I had the honor of doing a live photographic event at Bentonville Soup.
If you haven’t heard of Bentonville soup it is a micro granting event where attendees pay $10 for food, drinks and the chance to change the lives of one of the presenters and the community. Presenters are community members raising money for a cause close to them.
The four presenters for the February Event were:
Kelsey Miller for Little Bellas - Little Bellas is a mountain bike organization whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling.
Nick Jones for Service Before Self - A non-profit that helps veterans transition into the work force after service.
Muskaan Arshad for Affordable Learning Opportunities - To purchase learning materials for students who can not afford them.
Stephannie Lane Baker and Christian Kunnecke for Charity Pirates - The Charity Pirates aim to bring people together in community-wide events for charity.
After these four presented, the audience (over 150 people) voted on who should get the proceeds from the event. Kelsey Miller won an unbelievable $1700 for her organization!
During the event there were a few artists doing various things.
DJ Herkimer Diamond (Ashley Nicole Worthey) was spinning some awesome tunes during dinner.
Artist, Hubert Neal, Jr., did a live painting from before the event began all the way to the end.
And I was the third artist. My photos were displayed throughout the venue and I got to do a small performance.
When I thought about what I could do for a live photographic event, I just really wanted to do something outside of the box. I also wanted to pass down a nugget or two of knowledge that I have picked up over the course of my career.
I talked about the importance of being yourself and pouring that into your work. When I first started my photographic journey I did what I thought I was supposed to do to be successful. I did what I thought was expected of me. Things really changed for me (for the better) when I started doing projects from the heart. For a long time I was afraid to do the projects that I really wanted to because I was afraid that having a vocal opinion might scare off clients. Then I decided to truly be happy, I have to do what my heart calls me to do regardless of what anyone thinks. Then came Femina. Femina was one of my best creative projects and it was straight from my soul. It embodies me, my values and it was something I wanted to say. When I got the photos out and I said it with my photographs things changed for me. A couple major publications noticed and they loved it. It feels so, so amazing to get noticed for something that is truly from your heart. Maybe I would have been noticed before with work that wasn’t really from the heart but it wouldn’t have meant near as much to me as this did. National Geographic was one of the publications that noticed Femina. They gave me amazing feedback and published one photo from the set online. It was a life changing feeling to be associated with them in any way. This was basically the speech I gave. haha I summarized a bit but this is it for the most part. Then the audience and I had an intimate moment together. I asked everyone to get their phones out and we all took a selfie at the same time. It was such a sweet moment. I asked everyone who felt comfortable to tag their selfie with the hashtag #selfieswithjenn. These are a few of my favorites. >>>
Next I asked everyone to find a stranger, give them a compliment and then snap their photo. I asked them to hashtag these #bentonvillesoup. Here are a few favorites. >>>
This was such a beautiful event put on by some amazing women: Marci Bess, Heather Machelle, Ashley Nicole Worthey, Hannah Bahn, Monica Diodati, Chelsea Miller, Bianca Montoya, Jessie Wagner. If you see any of them give them a high-five and/or fist bump and tell them how amazing they are.