During a 2013 mission trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Rick noticed the excitement among villagers when he showed them the photos he was taking. Realizing that most of them had no photos of themselves or family members, Rick started ‘In Our Image’ as a way to provide free photo prints to those who have little to no access to photos of themselves or their loved ones. Follow Rick on Instagram at In_Our_Image
When did you start giving away photos?
In the fall of 2013, I made my second trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Knowing that I wanted to be able to provide photos at whatever location we might be, I wanted to have photo printers that were small enough for travel and could run off battery power. I purchased two Canon Selphy CP900 printers, along with the batteries and printing supplies. Using my Canon 7D and an older Canon Rebel xsi, I took and printed out about 200 photos on that trip. Since that time I have made several more trips back the Yucatán Peninsula, along with trips to Kenya and India. It always amazes me to see how open and excited people are when they realize that they can have a free photo of themselves, especially the ones who have never had a photo of themselves.
What motivated you to do it?
Wanting to connect with people and offer them something of value. Giving away photo prints has allowed me to reach beyond language barriers, cultural differences, and uncertainties that people have toward strangers.
What equipment do you use and why?
I started out using SD cards and the equipment that I mentioned earlier. I still use a lot of the same equipment, but now with direct wifi connections and Bluetooth connections I am able to use other equipment such as iPhones and iPads. I still use the Canon Selphy printers, although I have added a newer model to my equipment lineup. I have looked into other setups, but I really like the 4×6 prints and the quality of the Canon Selphy. I did try a full size printer that could do 8×10, but the prints took too long and the cost was not manageable.
Can you share one memorable story with us about your experience sharing photos?
While there are so many memorable stories I would love to share, there are three that I feel really show how powerful giving out photo prints can be. First one is just general overall. It’s when I realized that so many people wanted a full body photo instead of the portraiture style that I was taking. I realized that the photo wasn’t just a nice image for them to have, it was also a documentation of that stage of their life. (Especially with children.) The second memorable story was when I was able to provide photo prints of a new born baby to the parents. They had no photos of the baby and the mother was very sick after the birth. Even through the sickness and late hour, the family was so eager for those photos. The last one was being able to provide photo prints to individuals and families in a Leper Colony in India. Once again, people were amazed at something most people never think much of — a photo themselves with loved ones.
Do you have any suggestions for people who would like to give photos?
Find the best way to do it and make it about them and not yourself. If you are the only one who is available to give the photos, then do what you can and don’t feel you have to keep up with anyone else. If others are already giving photos away, team up with them. We make a stronger impact by working together.
Can you use any help with how you give photos?
I am always looking for ways to increase my ability to give photos away. I always appreciate those who would like to travel with me and help take photos or run equipment. As well as anyone who is willing to contribute toward supply and equipment cost.