Friday, February 5, 2010

Feature Friday: Simska Photography

Many of us have been heartbroken by the pain and destruction that the recent earthquake brought upon the small country of Haiti.  And many have given in creative ways to help those in need.

Simska Photography is currently featuring wonderful journalistic black & white photos featuring Haiti before the earthquake.


Kelly, the photographer, had the opportunity to travel to Haiti in 2006 and work on behalf of the Planting Peace organization - specifically serving in one of the four Planting Peace orphanages in Port-au-Prince.  Two orphanages were heavily damaged in the earthquake, though thankfully all children survived.  All children have been moved together into one orphanage and currently Planting Peace has to ration food and clean water for the children due to the very real potential of it running out before they get more.

These photos from Haiti were taken by the artist herself and are all signed and dated - limited editions, and come in 8x10 size.  They range in price from $25 to $45...though 100% of the proceeds will go to Planting Peace organization.

"School Days"

Simska Photography says this about the Haiti Relief Photos:

"About the charity: all proceeds from this auction, minus eBay and PayPal fees, will go to the charity Planting Peace, one of Haiti's largest relief organizations. Planting Peace will be providing food and water to the many affected by the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12th. Rainn traveled with Planting Peace to Haiti last year, and reported on his trip for USA Today. Planting Peace's founder, Aaron Jackson, was named a CNN Hero in 2007. For more information, go to"

Some very practical ways your purchase may be put to work helping Haitian orphans in need are:

$10.00 can deworm 588 children
$18 dollars can sponsor an orphan
$60 can house an HIV orphan for a month

"Is Love Enough?"

Kelly from Simska Photography recently shed light on how she got her start in photography and the impact her travels have made on her and her photography...

How long have you been creating & selling your products?

I started seriously photographing 5 years ago but only started selling my work 3 years ago.

How did you get into it?
I studied Creative Photography at the University of Florida and a short term at New England School of Photography in Boston. I can't say I have been photographing since I was young or that I have a 'cool' story of how I started.. but it was an interest of mine when I was starting college and stuck with it. I had my doubts a few years into it, but I got over it. I did not start seriously selling my work until a few years ago when I was planning a trip overseas

Is your Etsy shop your primary shop? Where else would customers find you?
I have done mostly local shows and even at farmer's markets but it wasn't until the disaster in Haiti that I decided to become serious about having a shop on Etsy.
Although Etsy is my primary shop at the present time, you can view many of my other works @

What inspires your work?
Going on an adventure and by that I mean some place new. It could be as simple as taking a different route home, or it could be as invested as traveling to a foreign country. When I find myself at these new places, it is the connections I make with people there that inspires me most-- a warm hello, a smile, a glimpse into their life.

Do you have an all-time favorite piece? What is it and why?
Two actually; One is a black and white portrait of my best friend and Emmanuel (an orphan at Planting Peace) taken in 2007 in Haiti. I remember she was trying to get the braids out of his hair and they both ended up falling asleep on the couch. It was something so simple and sweet.

The other is a photograph of my Grandfather. While I was studying at New England School of Photography, my uncle and I would take trips to see my grandfather. At the time, his Dementia was not as severe. When people look at the photograph they ask if it was staged--the wallpaper, carpeting, Monet painting, and his vest...all yellow. I love that my grandmother's influence is so strongly present in the image, even though she is no where to be seen. If you look close, you can see me right next to my grandfather's arm in a photograph of me as a flower girl--a photo that he took.

From your shop it is clear that you have traveled a lot. Where have you traveled to internationally and which trip was the most impacting for you?

Yes, my first trip was to Poland where I stayed for six weeks living with my cousins. I got hooked on the intensity of experiencing a new culture and wanted to see what else was out there. The following year was my trip to Haiti, and it changed my outlook completely. I was floored by the fact that a country so close to home could have so much need that I was unaware of. This inspired me to focus my efforts in Humanitarian Aid. The following year, I went to The Gambia. Though it was life-changing, it was in a vastly different way. The majority of the time was spent out in the community with a group of students unlike the intimate environment I experienced in Haiti. However, this allowed me to work on various community-based projects. The following year, actually last year, I went to Rwanda to do the same kind of work as I did in The Gambia as an Art Mentor. We provided art supplies to children in clinics in small villages and painted public health murals. While I would say that Haiti has had the most impact on me, it's difficult to compare the experience.

"Sunday Morning"

Consider purchasing one of the Haiti Relief Photos from Simska Photography...and do so much more than provide great wall art in your home.  Make a difference in the lives of needy orphans and support quality handmade artisans all at the same time!  Click HERE to start shopping!

Thanks Kelly, of Simska Photography!

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