Interview with Fogo Island Photo Book Creator Leela Orr

I love meeting new people, especially women who want to make the world a better place. When I recently met Leela Orr at a local boardgames event, we chatted about our careers and were excited to learn we both were in creative fields. Leela told me about her Indiegogo campaign to help publish her photography book A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island. After exploring the Indiegogo link, I wanted to learn more about the project. Here is my interview with Leela Orr that came about as a result.

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Interview with Photographer Leila Orr

Indiegogo Project for This Photography Book

A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island by Leela Orr.

Hi Leela! Have you always been interested in photography? Please tell us a bit about this particular passion of yours.

I find photography very rewarding when I see how my photos evoke emotions as the artistic nature of the content touches the senses of the viewers. Then I know waiting hours and days for just the right light or situation was worth it.

Photography also allows me to be in the moment and to see more beauty in my surroundings and to have greater  appreciation  for nature.

Assisting others through photography is one of my mottos. I love learning, exploring different cultures, nature, and hiking. There’s no better way to share my passion than through photography. I’ve lived, worked and traveled in over 30 countries with a career in international community development and now photography allows me to explore from a different perspective. My most recent goal is to use all my photography as a fundraiser for various organizations.

I started photography a number of years ago. My ex-partner had purchased a lot of camera equipment and then never used it. At the same time, I thought so many wedding albums were boring “all the same posed photos” so I started taking creative wedding pictures for friends and putting them in albums for a gift. It soon became a business.

That was a risk! Weddings are only for a few hours, the photos have to turn out! I’m lucky they always did. After a couple of years, I needed more stimulation for my hobby/extra work and wanted to spend more time outdoors in my free time. Doing photography in nature is like a meditation, I am totally in the moment.

I love your comparison of photography to meditation. Now, regarding your most recent project, where exactly is Fogo Island?

Fogo Island is the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is situated off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. One of it’s towns, Tilting, is known as the oldest Irish Settlement in Canada and in 2003 was designated a Registered Heritage District. It is also known as one of the country’s best-preserved collections of structures associated with the fishery and early farming in Newfoundland and Labrador.

How did the idea for publishing the book A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island come to you?

My idea to publish a pictorial book of Fogo Island with the goal of selling it to raise funds for mental health projects and heritage projects on the island started in 2015 when I was selected  for the international artist-in-residence program. My placement was located in Tilting. 

I soon realized the island was a feast for a photographer: the seascapes, landscapes, flora, fauna, the communities. In 2016 I  returned on my own accord  for 4 months  to become more familiar with the communities and to continue photographing for the book.

What will the funds raised by the Indiegogo campaign go toward? 

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Nina Gualinga Speaks Up About Climate Change and COP20

 

Activist Nina Gualinga

Nina Gualinga Speaks Up about the Environment. Print screen taken from YouTube video Keep the Oil in the Ground.

Nina Gualinga is from a small community in Ecuador called Sarayaku. She is an activist for the rights of Indigenous people, speaking up on platforms such as the Huffington Post about protecting the Indigenous cultural identity that contains traditions to use resources in sustainable ways. In particular, she focuses on Indigenous practices that encourage regrowth and regeneration of resources.

Recently, Nina Gualinga spoke about climate change at the COP20 Climate Conference that took place in Lima in December of 2014. She spoke to the world leaders in attendance about the importance of protecting the environment to help make for a better world for future generations. She explained that it is vital to use resources wisely now to avoid environmental disasters and further irreversible climate changes.

In particular, Gualinga advocates reducing global usage of fossil fuels. Namely those resources are gas, oil and coal. Currently, these fuel reserves are being burned at an alarmingly fast rate, which is raising global warming. According to Eye on Latin America “between 60-80% of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground, instead of being burned and thus resulting in vast amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the environment…”

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Compassion International: Precious Gifts

This post from Judith at the Among the Pots and Pans blog is perfect for the holiday season. Note how Judith points out how she uses the poinsettia plant to lift her up in spirit, and how she suggests offering compassionate gifts. Inspiring? Yes!

Among the Pots and Pans

Poinsettia Image by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, on Flickr

The Christmas season can trigger a variety of memories and emotions — some bittersweet.  As we anticipate the joyful arrival of the infant Jesus into our homes, we are surprised when the shorter days darken our moods. We are disappointed to find ourselves feeling exhausted just when we are supposed to feel cheerful and inspired. We avoid much needed rest because we want to go the extra mile to make the season “perfect” for our families, our friends, ourselves.

I tend to find comfort and inspiration from nature — especially plants and flowers. I am encouraged when I remember a few facts about the poinsettia, one of the most popular symbols of the Christmas season. Its showy, red petal-like leaves or bracts decorate homes, offices and churches between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those brilliant colors are only possible if the plant gets enough hours of rest — total darkness, in fact — from September through…

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