This feature is about a whole lot more than the pretty images you see in front of you. You've all heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal a few weeks ago and I'm sure have seen the images of the unimaginable hardships that their people are currently facing. NINA & WES PHOTOGRAPHY – who have strong connections to the country – were recently there holding a workshop, so you can imagine how emotional this is for them having literally flown out a couple of weeks prior to the earthquake. I implore you to please read Nina's words below and if you can help out, even by the smallest amount, I thank you. Nina has such a big heart and has given so much to the wonderful people of Nepal, I'm full of admiration for her. Together with a team of selfless vendors they held THE BEYOND WORKSHOP which as well as being photography based, was set up to give 100% of the profits to go towards caring for local orphans and fighting human trafficking. Over $8000 was distributed to locals in need. It's really so heartwarming to see such goodness in people. The shoot shows you just a tiny slice of the beauty in Nepal, however it's sobering to realise that since this shoot things are looking a great deal bleaker and they have such a long road to healing and recovery. I'm honoured to be able to share some of the beautiful images captured by Nina in this shoot styled by KIM RICO.
Nina tells us, “Just before Wes and I married, I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal for four months, doing volunteer work with street children and elderly women. I grew to love Nepal greatly, and have ached to return ever since. As a wedding photographer, it is easy to get swept away into all the pretty details and amazing people we meet as we capture one of the most special days of their lives on film. But my heart has always been happiest when working to make a difference in the lives of others, which always seems to do the same in my own life when I work towards that goal.
About 20 months ago, I woke up with an idea about a special kind of photography workshop. I wanted to do something more with our business. I wanted to go beyond business, and do something more in the world…something that would have lasting impact. Most photography workshops focus mainly on building your portfolio and growing your business, which is wonderful and needed. We have attended some of the most amazing workshops out there in years past. But sometimes it can get competitive, and can cause you to lose focus on what is really important in this world…loving others, and giving back what we have been given. This is what led us to creating the Beyond Workshop. It is a not-for-profit workshop where none of the vendors take any pay, and 100% of the profits go back to those in need in Nepal.
We opened one workshop seat to an up and coming stylist in California, Kim Rico of Drops of Honey Designs. Throughout the workshop, she assisted and learned from both Abany Bauer and Carrie Moe of Type A Society. This shoot is a result of her creative design and style.
From Kim, “For this shoot my inspiration was drawn from the boat that I had noticed after arriving to the Fort Resort. I loved being able to create a love story that was set in a destination location and incorporating the natural elements that the resort had featured in every corner as well using the incredible backdrop setting of the Himalayan mountains. I wanted to evoke a love story that was inspirational & feminine, by using the Gossamer as a main focal point accented with a hand lettered love note written by Abany Bauer.”
“The earthquake that occurred on April 25th in Nepal has shaken all of us. So many of the beautiful places we visited, and historical landmarks that we marveled at, are now piles of rubble. The earthquake also caused the main building of the Fort Resort to collapse. Through sharing images of this beautiful inspirational bridal session, we hope to remind people of the beauty of Nepal, not the poverty. Nepal is a country rich in history, and the people of Nepal are full of warmth and kindness.
The first half of the workshop was spent in classroom sessions revolving around business, and the second half of the workshop was spent doing volunteer work in Nepal. We had an amazing group of people this year, that gave everything they could to help this workshop succeed. Each attendee had their own part to play, and as the days unfolded, it was a joy to see each one of them fall in love with the country of Nepal.
Some of the industry vendors that donated time or goods to help make our not-for-profit workshop succeed: Magnolia Rouge, Jose Villa, Wildgrace Workshop, Paper Birch Designs, Julie Song Ink, Brown Linen Design, Kraft & Jute, Mrs. Box, Frou Frou Chic, Type A Society, Richard Photo Lab, State Film Lab, Goodman Film Lab, Carol Hannah, Gossamer Vintage, and Jacob Cecil.
A special thanks to Gautam Rai, our Nepali brother who made this workshop truly possible by arranging all of our lodging, meals, and volunteer opportunities. He was our translator throughout our time there, and he also helped our attendees see the importance of documenting the joy and warmth of the people of Nepal, over the poverty of Nepal. He and his wife, Rekha, along with 3 biological children, have adopted 11 beautiful girls, and have devoted their lives to orphan care, and are daily meeting the needs of others with what little they have. Since the earthquake, Gautam has been out in the streets from morning til night helping others. He and his family are a beautiful example of love in action.
If you are interested in helping the relief efforts that are occurring on the ground in Nepal, there are many amazing organizations that work tirelessly with the people there, not only providing aid right now, but long-term care after many other relief groups have returned back home: TINY HANDS INTERNATIONAL, 3 Seams, Waypoint Omaha (select “Nepal” in the dropdown menu, and 100% of the funds will be given to the Rai Family to further their ability to care for children and the community around them).”