* To celebrate the launch of Monika Bulaj’s print, we’ve discounted her print 20% through midnight EST Thursday. *
WEDDING SEASON IN LIBYA
Nuru Project CEO JB Reed explores wedding culture at home and abroad
I have a confession to make… I shoot weddings.
I’m a photographer by trade and weddings have provided a steady income as I try and get Nuru Project off the ground. While I enjoy the work and appreciate how much it means to my clients, I have worried what the photojournalism community wouldn’t consider my shooting weddings to be ‘serious’ work.
But in the course of considering Monika Bulaj’s stunning print from a Libyan wedding, I realized that she and I are in the same line of work!
What grabs me about Monika’s print is the light emanating from Saba. A ray of sun peeks through the roof in the next room. Tiny mirrors in her headscarf shatter it, scattering hundreds of points of light about her alcove. She is, quite literally, radiant. It sounds trite, but wedding day radiance is something I’ve seen dozens of times in the course of shooting weddings. And it’s not just brides. It’s mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and girlfriends. And it’s not just women. Grooms, fathers, sons, and brothers also often beam with anticipation.
To be sure, the institution has its flaws. Child marriage is a huge issue around the world. In the United States, not everyone who wants to get married can. Same sex couples are currently waging a passionate campaign for equal marriage rights. And for those who can get married in the U.S., many lose sight of what makes the day truly special. As we all know, not all beautiful weddings lead to beautiful marriages, and American culture is too absorbed with the former.
During a recent wedding I shot in Brooklyn, the officiant asked those in attendance to imagine the countless other weddings that were taking place that day in cities and villages around the globe. For all the cynicism surrounding the wedding industry and the institution of marriage in the United States, she was reminding us that finding a mate and partner with whom to share life remains among our most fundamental human desires. When we find that person, we radiate light.
Monika’s print reminds me that this is true all over the world.
JB Reed is Co-Founder and CEO of Nuru Project. If you’re looking for him on a weekend during the spring or fall, at least until Nuru Project becomes a much bigger deal, he’s probably off shooting a wedding.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
How 21 Jump Street Forecasts Success for Nuru Project
I met with a guy on Friday who runs a website that facilitates charity auctions. I shared with him my frustrations about non-profit funding, specifically grants. Many grants have lower acceptance rates than Harvard’s undergraduate program. Why should a scrappy start-up spend limited time and energy applying for funding at those odds?
I told him that I want Nuru Project to be funded in the course of our regular business. That is, I want to sell prints for a price and at a revenue share that supports not only the important work of non-profits and photojournalists, but our own organization as well. I don’t want to depend on getting funding in one lump sum from a fickle institution. I want to be funded by our customers, through a share of each print they buy. The gentleman insisted I would have to apply for grants, because there isn’t a real “commercial market” for Nuru Project’s prints. In other words, he doesn’t believe there are enough buyers out there who will want to hang Nuru prints in their home for print sales to be our only source of funding.
On the walk home, I remembered the recent movie, 21 Jump Street. In the film, Channing Tatum is a former jock and prom king and Jonah Hill is a former geek who got laughed at by Tatum in high school for asking “the hot girl” to prom. Both are now baby-faced cops who get sent back to high school undercover to bust up a high school drug ring. Posing as students, they expect to fall into their old high school roles. Tatum expects to once again be received by the cool crowd and Hill fears being re-relegated to the nerds. Only when they get back on campus, it quickly becomes apparent that the students’ values have changed. When Tatum and Hill graduated high school, it was cool to pick on nerds and be apathetic. But in 2012, the cool kids are those who are pursuing intentionally un-mainstream lifestyles: vegans, environmentalists, drama nerds. The movie presents a half-truth: while high schools are no doubt still full of mainstream bullies, the ranks of the “weird” kids are indeed growing.
Once they’re out of school, the kids portrayed in 21 Jump Street are not going to fill their first home with vapid decor. They are going to want meaningful objects that connect them to the rest of the world, that tell powerful stories, that support social causes, and that express how they see the world. It’s a silly example, but we at Nuru Project are betting that connecting with this new, growing community will make us plenty viable in the long run.
@PhotovilleNYC seen from the #Brooklyn Promenade #photography #photojournalism #photo (Taken with Instagram)
Photoville = Exhibits + Shipping Containers + Brooklyn.
Come see it this Thu-Sun: http://photovillenyc.org/
Framing Coming Soon!
24x30 framed Ben Norman featured here at Nuru HQ- http://www.nuruproject.org/products/benjamin-norman
Our first customer from Malaysia!!! Links to the prints shown:
Upper right - http://www.nuruproject.org/products/christian-bobst_03
Lower Left - http://www.nuruproject.org/products/benjamin-norman
Lower Right - http://www.nuruproject.org/products/rony-zakaria_01
Nuru featured on Lightbox today! http://ti.me/IOkukc
You can now RENT select Nuru prints through Artsicle!
MORE INFO - http://bit.ly/Jflxds